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Going deeper into the heart of things

Recently I chatted by email with my colleague Brigid Schulte, who is part of a new narrative-journalism WaPo blog called Story Lab. Excellent idea! Please read this blog and chime in with comments -- particularly if you care, as I think a lot of us do, about well-reported, well-written, carefully crafted stories in the paper. Brigid is one of our premier writers, as you can see in this story about a mother who lost a child to swine flu. (And here's the ombudsman blog in which we see Brigid doing the right thing by telling the grieving mother that she ought to stop chain-smoking.

Excerpt from our first exchange:

Brigid: Hey Joel,

Thanks so much for agreeing to talk about your story on narrative journalism. To be honest, this is the kind of writing that got me into journalism in the first place. I remember taking a class in college called The Literary Journalists and reading these wonderful pieces - collected in an anthology by Norman Sims - that rang so true - true in the journalistic sense because the stories were real, but also true in the sense that writing with some of the same techniques used in fiction - narrative, spinning a story out, dialogue, foreshadowing, drawing full character portraits - can take you deeper and farther into the heart of things.

Then you get your first newspaper job and your editor tells you you write with "too much damn color" and wants you to hack away at what you were certain was a brilliant little gem about the western pine beetle and the meaning of life and it goes downhill from there ... Anyway, I'm not sure I pull off this kind of writing very often, or ever, but I love to read it. And hope springs eternal.

Why did you decide to write this piece [my Style article on narrative writing as the killer app] and why now? (P.S. Lane Gregory's piece you mentioned on the feral child, The Girl in the Window, absolutely blew me away when it first came out. I was riveted.)

Joel: ... [throat-clearing]...[gibberish]...I do believe, fervently, feverishly -- pick an overwrought adverb -- in the power of stories. I got the idea for the narrative article when two things crossed my eyeballs in short succession earlier this year. First, I read a blog item or some sort of news snippet - tweet - sniffle - harrumph - about a dispute at Columbia Journalism School over how to teach the craft of journalism.

Apparently one side (and I'm pulling this from memory - so flag it as probably all wrong) believes in teaching a traditional curriculum that includes an emphasis on long-form narrative. The other side wants to emphasize new media, and all the new tricks and techniques therein. Meanwhile - data point two - I came across a copy of the Orlando Sentinel, which seemed to have abandoned stories altogether in favor of a dizzying array of graphics, charts, headlines, subheds, keys, refers, blinkers, squawkers, needlers and other whiz-bang stuff that I don't even know the technical name of. It just didn't look like a newspaper that believed in itself anymore. It didn't look to me as if the editors believed that people can still read.

Click here for the full item. And here's Part 2 of our conversation. Post comments at Story Lab!

[Extra credit: Read and opine on Eric Schmidt's piece in the WSJ on Google saving newspapers. Am still chewing on this. (Part of me thinks grandma looks strangely like a wolf. But I reserve the right to revise and extend that remark.)

Here is the key passage, I think:

With dwindling revenue and diminished resources, frustrated newspaper executives are looking for someone to blame. Much of their anger is currently directed at Google, whom many executives view as getting all the benefit from the business relationship without giving much in return. The facts, I believe, suggest otherwise.

Google is a great source of promotion. We send online news publishers a billion clicks a month from Google News and more than three billion extra visits from our other services, such as Web Search and iGoogle. That is 100,000 opportunities a minute to win loyal readers and generate revenue--for free. In terms of copyright, another bone of contention, we only show a headline and a couple of lines from each story. If readers want to read on they have to click through to the newspaper's Web site. (The exception are stories we host through a licensing agreement with news services.) And if they wish, publishers can remove their content from our search index, or from Google News.

The claim that we're making big profits on the back of newspapers also misrepresents the reality. In search, we make our money primarily from advertisements for products. Someone types in digital camera and gets ads for digital cameras. A typical news search--for Afghanistan, say--may generate few if any ads. The revenue generated from the ads shown alongside news search queries is a tiny fraction of our search revenue.

OK. I believe Google's desire to help newspapers is sincere. I think Schmidt is genuinely concerned about the way things are going. But the fact remains that Google is eating up all the online advertising that was supposed to keep newspapers afloat. And Schmidt, in this column, explains precisely why. Search is the killer app -- even more killer than, say, sticking carefully reported and crafted stories betwixt readers and advertisements.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 9, 2009; 8:00 PM ET
 
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Next: Obama on war, peace, the spark of the divine

Comments

A new kit during SYTYCD and just before the season finale of Glee. Trying to cultivate new readership and alienate the regular tribe?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 9, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Wow. So much for 8:52 p.m. I guess that gender change was all it took, eh Joel?

Posted by: -TBG- | December 9, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching the last few minutes of SYTYCD and I have no idea which of the pairs is coming back next week. Does the winner stay on stage or the loser?

Posted by: -TBG- | December 9, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh.. I see now. Never mind.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 9, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Well now, *that* was interesting. Poor Mollee -- she looked like all she wanted to do was to cry (and I wouldn't blame her). But she acted like a pro, as shocked as she obviously was. I suspect that she's going to get a lot of work in the future, and I wish her well.

Not surprised that Legacy was cut. I think the voters really wanted to see Ryan and Ashleigh (is that how she spells it?) dance together.

Time to empty the dishwasher.

Posted by: -ftb- | December 9, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Glee-licious!

Posted by: yellojkt | December 9, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Blinded, ftb?

http://consumerist.com/2009/12/for-those-of-you-with-blindfolded-10-year-olds-a-dishwasher.html

Posted by: -TBG- | December 9, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm totally exiled to the basement during the Glee finale.

Please check out Story Lab and post comments. I think it's a good idea. I think it's an important idea. The people here at the A-blog are folks who appreciate good storytelling. I'm told by a very good source that tomorrow there's an A1 story that was informed by reader interaction on Story Lab. So it's not just about clapping for writers -- it's literally interactive.

Posted by: joelache | December 9, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

SCC.. blindFOLDED, ftb?

http://consumerist.com/2009/12/for-those-of-you-with-blindfolded-10-year-olds-a-dishwasher.html

Posted by: -TBG- | December 9, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

as I go along
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9c0wOX5dMc&NR=1&feature=fvwp

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 9, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

This is one of my favorite songs! Go Rachel!

Posted by: -TBG- | December 9, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Since I was four!

Posted by: -TBG- | December 9, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Me too, TBG

Posted by: dmd3 | December 9, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Me too, TBG

Posted by: dmd3 | December 9, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

joelache, I suffer from, as A.S. Byatt named it, "narrative greed."

I like long stories. So I've gone over there.

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm crying. Again.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 9, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Happy teen squeals coming from my basement.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 9, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Might as well unplug the tv until April.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 9, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I just purchased Don't Rain on My Parade and You Can't Always Get What You Want from iTunes. My first Glee purchases.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 9, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I have long loved Don't Rain on My Parade, even before marrying the second Mr. F who the waitresses at the Camp Humphreys (Korea) O'Club used to call Dr. Zhivago. "Rachel" nailed it. Whoever did the casting for this show is a genius.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 9, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Don't go back over to the last boodle. It's like Pet Sematary back there with the trolls trying poetry.

Posted by: engelmann | December 9, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Happy to make you smile Yoki.

Oh and I forgot to post this video about scientific peer review in the last kit. It's a ROFLMAOer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VRBWLpYCPY

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 9, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Had to look engelmann, I may not be an expert on poetry - but that troll poet is really bad - zap worthy?

I think DotC and Butlerguy will be fighting a losing battle over there.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 9, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I think that 65apr's entire oeuvre is zappable in the previous boodle.

A foot of snow and counting. And the VLP is sick.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 9, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

"But the fact remains that Google is eating up all the online advertising that was supposed to keep newspapers afloat"

Google's fault?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 9, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

DNA Girl...

Daughter: "Is that one of those Hitler re-dubs?"

Me: "Yes. About scientific peer review."

Daughter: ...

Me: "Scientific. Peer. Review."

Daughter: ... *crickets*

Me: "That's what's so funny!"

Posted by: -TBG- | December 9, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

OK, I missed something. I think I missed the memo. Rastafratch.

The season finale of Glee? But, but, I just started watching. On your recommendations and I finally managed to catch an episode and loved it.

Life is so unfair.

There will be repeats right. RIGHT?

Posted by: --dr-- | December 9, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

dr,
New episodes starting in April. DVD coming out soon.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 9, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

engelmann - Aww, now, that's a little harsh. Even the harsher voices there weren't all necessarily what I would consider "trolls", and even some of the actual trolls were almost kinda cute, in their predictable way.

After one of my fairly rare comments on the "Celebritology" blog, I was accused of trolldom. Kind of threw me for a loop. I do stupid and/or silly, I do droll, I do sarcastic, I occasionally do caustic. But I hardly ever go looking to anger folks with unsupportable commentary, which is more-or-less how I define "trolling".

Posted by: bobsewell | December 9, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

bob.. I'd say some of those 'poetic' posts from tonight are most definitely trolls.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 9, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

The Capitals were held scoreless tonight by Buffalo. Bummer. Their first shutout loss this season.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 9, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

A day of Boodle exile (unintentional, I assure you), followed by shopping and housework, finally I can sit down and read the Kits and Boodles, and -- oy.

Perhaps a good evening for storytelling around the Bunker fireplace, methinks.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 9, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

TBG - Well, I'd certainly concede that 65apr (posting around 10:00 P.M.) was in full troll mode, but it was almost harmlessly silly, in its over-the-topness.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 9, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Long time, no talk. Two years, wife cancer free. On "Wait wait, don't tell me" P.J. Rourke's comment last week on Sarah Palin: "working for the other side."

You go girl!

Posted by: billeverythingAR | December 9, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

I've been trying to catch up (so many Kits!) - lessee...

dr, you can watch back episodes of Glee on Hulu or on Fox's site - they're free and only take 45 minutes b/c they have fewer commercials.

SD - what's wrong with the VLP?

DNA Girl - that Peer Review youtube was great!

And ... that last Kit definitely needs some zapping; it was good to see Boko, Cassandra, Windy, Raysmom and Martooni recently; and where is Omni?

That's all, now I need to go sleep.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | December 9, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Heart-broken. Narrative is not a good enough reason for such pain.

Joel, I'm sorry, *regret,* you were sent there, but glad you reported as kindly as you did.

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't know that I can watch them Wheezy. They block a lot of US content (dratted CTRC) over the internet these days. Its part who is watching what and paying whom and part, "what no Canadian content? Zap.".

So I'll probably have to wait for yjkt's suggestion (and thank your for that) and wait for dvd's. It will cut into the yarn budget, but I do need something to watch while knitting yanno.

On an off topic note, mrdr is watching girls curling (Olympic curling tirals now on in Edmonton). Said it was kind of like watching girls throw a ball. Fie on him, and for shame.

Posted by: --dr-- | December 9, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Just to make sure you all know I am joking, mrdr is a really nice guy. He does dishes and vacuums more than I do. Plus he takes out the garbage, keeps my yarn budget intact and a thousand and one other things for which I am greatful. His comment and mine are under the influence of incredibly cheap wine.

But still, we are giggling.

Posted by: --dr-- | December 9, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

It is the giggle, what does it.

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

OK, Frosti, I just *have* to ask: why did they call Mr. F "Dr. Zhivago"?

dr, I suspect Fox will start running re-runs of Glee starting in a week or two. There's no way they are gonna let a show like that go until April with nothing in its slot. They'll re-run it like crazy.

I liked this episode of Glee, but am ambivalent about that final scene, the final kiss. I think I'm glad Shu left his wife, but not sure about his rebound girl. (Also, I like the actress who plays his wife, though the character of course is pretty awful.) And I suppose the big cliffhanger is how will Sue get back her job, and what horror will she visit upon poor Shu.

I wish Liz and Jen Cheney would get off that interminable "Lost" kick and start doing some Glee chats, though with the season now over it's plain too late. So I guess its back to Bad Ben and the Smoke Monster. (Not that I follow those chats any more, because I don't.)

Girls' curling? (Rapidly rejecting 27 jokes.) I could watch that. Sure. Why not.

Oh, dear. Sounds like Yoki didn't like that narrative site. That doesn't bode well for me either.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 10, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

OK, Frosti, I just *have* to ask: why did they call Mr. F "Dr. Zhivago"?

dr, I suspect Fox will start running re-runs of Glee starting in a week or two. There's no way they are gonna let a show like that go until April with nothing in its slot. They'll re-run it like crazy.

I liked this episode of Glee, but am ambivalent about that final scene, the final kiss. I think I'm glad Shu left his wife, but not sure about his rebound girl. (Also, I like the actress who plays his wife, though the character of course is pretty awful.) And I suppose the big cliffhanger is how will Sue get back her job, and what horror will she visit upon poor Shu.

I wish Liz and Jen Cheney would get off that interminable "Lost" kick and start doing some Glee chats, though with the season now over it's plain too late. So I guess its back to Bad Ben and the Smoke Monster. (Not that I follow those chats any more, because I don't.)

Girls' curling? (Rapidly rejecting 27 jokes.) I could watch that. Sure. Why not.

Oh, dear. Sounds like Yoki didn't like that narrative site. That doesn't bode well for me either.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 10, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

I can't imagine Liz and Jan getting off their Lost kick. They chatted the whole third season, and then went into reruns on DVD. Obsessed!

Joel's story, linked, just hurt my heart. Don't read it. Or do, and move through it, bravely. I still don't know how to handle it, except with great suffering. I'm all confused.

Posted by: Yoki | December 10, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Can't seem to keep up with Joel's frenetic blogging and linking, and maybe it's just as well for now.

billeverything! Nice to hear from you, especially the good news.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 10, 2009 1:21 AM | Report abuse

hi, billeverything! glad your wife is doing well.

Posted by: LALurker | December 10, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Hi Martooni!

Hi, billeverything! Good to hear from you and about the good news.

We've got lots of rain since Nov/Dec is the monsoon season. We had scotching weather last Jul/Aug. This pattern is normal. But we don't always get this pattern. The last couple of years, Nov/Dec and Jul/Aug weather were reversed. I don't know if that's global warming but if I were a farmer, I'll be stressed out.

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 10, 2009 2:28 AM | Report abuse

Standing in for jack a late-night link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hqd2FJF8-h8&feature=PlayList&p=0B85A37E4B358E13&index=0

Posted by: Yoki | December 10, 2009 3:19 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. It was the night of the paper towel, 1 and a half roll to be exact. The VLP had an upset stomach. He does that about once a year, after having found a wild delicacy on his walkie, I think. The "Fritou" chicken episode is famous.

If you want to do a snowman this is the place and time. There is s foot of sticky snow on the ground.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 10, 2009 6:36 AM | Report abuse

The 10 strangest books in the English language.....

http://timesonline.typepad.com/comment/2009/12/the-10-stangest-books-in-the-english-language.html

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 10, 2009 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle!

Here is an interesting contrast.

Sarah Palin lives waaay up north of the American continent.

Michelle Bachelet lives on the southern end of the world.

It's an eye opener to listen to Bachelet speak English (not her native language) vs the moose skinner's blather.

Here's the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48aWu8GBKyQ

Brag

Posted by: Braguine | December 10, 2009 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. It's so nice to wake up to a warm house. Yesterday, Mr. T noticed that "wake" on the thermostat was set on 5:40 PM instead of AM. I dunno how that happened but I fixed it.

Gotta get the oil changed in the car this morning, then I can think about Christmas. It's a party weekend! Gotta get started on it...

Posted by: slyness | December 10, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

dr, Global has the episodes on their site.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 10, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

billeverything, great to hear from you and so happy about your news. A nice way to start my day.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 10, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Billeverything, that's wonderful news, don't be a stranger!

*off-to-get-the-usual-coffee-fix Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 10, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to check that out dmd. thanks
When I crawled to bed it was still on so I did catch the ending.

Posted by: --dr-- | December 10, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

billeverything,
Good to hear from you and that is great news about your wife. We have so many boodle friends, old and new.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 10, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

This morning's front page story about tattoos at work is a Story Lab article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/09/AR2009120904631.html

I'm not sure it's groundbreaking, but it was a nice human interest bit.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 10, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Great news, billeverything!

Sorry to have missed the discussion of SYTYCD and Glee. One of these days I'll get that wireless router set up. Last time I tried, we lost our internet connection altogether.

Wonder how SYTYCD is going to handle a finale with 6 contestants?

Posted by: Raysmom | December 10, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I have yet to see this televised program "Glee" of which you speak. So please don't spoil it for me. I am creating a lengthy backlog of shows to watch in my dotage (which should be starting any minute now, actually.) Clearly, Glee is on that list. Right after "Cheers," because I wanna know if Sam and Dianne aver get together.

Remember, don't spoil it.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 10, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I ventured over to the Story Lab and posted a comment beneath "Part II." It is, to the surprise of no one, a bit pedantic and self evident.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 10, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Hola SeƱor Achenbach;

Google has brought me to read newspapers from lands far in distance and culture to Vermont. Are journalists ready to become cosmopolitan? If I read x% of 'people' eat organic, I always wonder what universe of "people" that percentage defines. Regional newspapers can count on being town crier types. But the Web forces newspapers to develop a global voice. When the Post, the WSJ or the Times refuse to develop a presence in Spanish for the growing Latino market, they are sealing their fate. To develop a multilingual presence is a natural step for a news medium in a multicultural society facing a dwindling market base. Bolivia, Ecuador and many other societies are redefining their criollo cultural monoliths to acknowledge other versions of "us". That is a new century at work. Let's just call it Chipotle mayonnaise ...
great writing Bro .... Paz from Sub Quebecois frontera Vermont

Posted by: RUBENMORTIZ | December 10, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! A cheery -8F here in our fair city, but a golden orb is rising in the east. Won't bring any warmth really, but the light bouncing off all the snow is welcome.

Mudge-they called him Dr. Z because he looked like Omar Sharif in Dr. Zhivago, thus the Bacon style link back to Funny Girl and Don't Rain on My Parade.

billeverything-Great news! Don't be a stranger.

I'll save getting linky with sad narratives for later. If I venture out all weepy my eyelashes will freeze.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 10, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

I dunno. Maybe it's just me. I went over to the Story Lab thing, and wandered around a bit. I think my first impression was something along the lines of: "OK, I'm here...but I don't know what to *do.* What am I supposed to find? Where is everything?" But I kinda just didn't *understand* it, in a visceral way. I don't have a sense of what it was trying to do, or be. There were menus, and I clicked on some. I went places. But I didn't find much. What little I did find was the stuff Joel had already linked to here, the Brigid conversations, and I'd already read those. There were a handful of blog entries, and not one of them had any comments posted whatsoever, save the one blog entry Padouk just mentioned. And there were only three comments: his, and two other Boodlers'. I just didn't "get" it.

There was a blog item that began by saying that "good writing was all around," and then, after a paragraph of dithering, gave a link to what it called the "
best Ebay ad ever," a piece of writing so bad it was good or so good it was bad, take your pick. So, reluctantly, I say, OK, I'll play. And I go to the link. And it's an Ebay auction page, and the auction has ended, and there's all the usual detritus of an Ebay page, similiar items for sale, and lots of product specks and the usual flotsam and crap. And I still have come upon anything that looks like actual text, actual "story," nor advertising copy. Finally, halfway down the link, I discover, yes, that it turns out to be Weingarten's junkheap car auction. So I'd traveled all this way only to stumble upon something I'd already read a week or two ago in Weingarten's own chat and chat updates. I felt cheated, frankly. Why couldn't the entry grafs on all this simply said (as it should have): here's Gene Weingarten's Ebay junk car entry. Why did I have to wade through all the Ebay crap to find out I'd already read the damn thing? I object that it simply wasted my time. And while Weingarten's junk car schtick was mildly amusing, it was neither "so good it was bad" nor "so bad it was good." It wasn't much of anything. It certainly wasn't an example of "story," of narrative. WTF was it doing there in Story Lab? Hell if I know.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 10, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

A song, a song, a song, in honor of President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize awarded this morning in Norway!

Pete Seeger's "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXnJVkEX8O4&feature=PlayList&p=0B6D5B57DBB086E7&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=24

It was back in nineteen forty-two,
I was a member of a good platoon.
We were on maneuvers in-a Loozianna,
One night by the light of the moon.
The captain told us to ford a river,
That's how it all begun.
We were -- knee deep in the Big Muddy,
But the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, are you sure,
This is the best way back to the base?"
"Sergeant, go on! I forded this river
'Bout a mile above this place.
It'll be a little soggy but just keep slogging.
We'll soon be on dry ground."
We were -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, with all this equipment
No man will be able to swim."
"Sergeant, don't be a Nervous Nellie,"
The Captain said to him.
"All we need is a little determination;
Men, follow me, I'll lead on."
We were -- neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

All at once, the moon clouded over,
We heard a gurgling cry.
A few seconds later, the captain's helmet
Was all that floated by.
The Sergeant said, "Turn around men!
I'm in charge from now on."
And we just made it out of the Big Muddy
With the captain dead and gone.

We stripped and dived and found his body
Stuck in the old quicksand.
I guess he didn't know that the water was deeper
Than the place he'd once before been.
Another stream had joined the Big Muddy
'Bout a half mile from where we'd gone.
We were lucky to escape from the Big Muddy
When the big fool said to push on.

Well, I'm not going to point any moral;
I'll leave that for yourself
Maybe you're still walking, you're still talking
You'd like to keep your health.
But every time I read the papers
That old feeling comes on;
We're -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.

Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep! Neck deep! Soon even a
Tall man'll be over his head, we're
Waist deep in the Big Muddy!
And the big fool says to push on!

Posted by: laloomis | December 10, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Hello Brag!

Catching up on a bit of the boodle. Working too much, but happy to be working.

I very much appreciated your 6:40am-ish post of the anti-Palin from Chile. I was reminded of Cal Berkeley's influence on politics in this country and around the world during the Vietnam Era, re SI Hayakawa. At the time, I got to play soccer with some "unwanted" Chileans who were working from our country in the DC area. I was introduced to the music of Inti Illimani and enjoy them so many years later.

Yesterday, I was sharing video clips of various S. and C. American musicians and we played this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2Z6jtNtGME

Many of the group were convicted in abstentia for their activities against the Pinochet regime. The group was formed in college and was forced to spend much of their lives away from their country.

La Partida by Victor Jara.

Most free countries would consider Sarah Palin as a kook in a red, white and blue swimsuit.

What do you do when Gretchen Carlson is the new Walter Cronkite.

Thanks again for the post.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 10, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

What a tool!

Posted by: russianthistle | December 10, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

BillE -- Huzzah, Merry everything to y'll.

Mudge -- I had trouble navigating too. Should be a website with two-three level architecture for what they attempt. I guess somebody is trying out the hub site nested within a blog. Not sure the formatting works.

I have very mixed feelings about new journalism/creative nonfiction "living" on a newspaper platform. Continues to blur and confuse reportage with option and now an essay/art take on life.

Having said this, creative nonfiction is as interesting and compelling as fiction.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 10, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

confuses OPINION....blech...off to my corner to grade papers....shall arise from the waters eventually, perhaps with some pearls of student wisdom or a shiny example of a topic sentence.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 10, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

You know cQp, their wisdom is often unintended, but still quite often brilliant.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 10, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Yes. RT -- flashes of humanity and brillance. But, my new favorite word for banning in their writing is PASSION.

And, ISSUE for PROBLEM.

About passion, try this:

Steven Hawking, and up and coming top physicist, is passionate about Toe. He advocates tirelessly for this theory that will wipe away the current issues in ultimate physics.

TOE would be the theory of everything.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 10, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

I did a bad thing...

Posted by: Yoki | December 10, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Great Glee Rumors:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/news/e3icfa83da3026da8be35a8e74f1f89ab5f

They are trying to get Idina Menzel to be the rival singing coach. If they could get Kristen Chenoweth to guest star as well, that would be a Wicked (pun intended) reunion.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 10, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

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