Wall St. Journal’s “Lighter Side”

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People usually think of the Wall St. Journal as being no-nonsense coverage of the business world.

But the Journal also has a lighter side, in what used to be called “A-hed,” the center column on the front page. The A-hed, started in 1941, was the place in the Wall St. Journal that offered a glimpse into “feuding nudists, dueling translators of the Bible into Klingon, and high-quality prison underwear.” (For more on A-heds, check out “An Essay on the ‘Middle Column.’” Or check out the Journal’s collection of A-hed columns, “Floating Off the Page: The Best Stories from The Wall Street Journal’s ‘Middle Column.’)

According to Gawker, “The End Of The A-Hed” in Jan. 2008, Rupert Murdoch planned to kill off the Journal’s home to whimsical off-beat feature stories. It seems there was a stay of execution for the A-hed because it continues to live on, albeit at the bottom of the middle column, not the space at the top o f that column, which is had occupied for decades.

For some reason, I really liked yesterday’s column on extreme ballooning, “Extreme Ballooning Features High Drama (and Hot Air); At the World’s Biggest Festival, Unruly Winds Mess Up Pole Grab; ‘Kissing,’ Not Colliding.”

Where else would I learn that when two balloons collide, it’s called “kissing” (because the FAA takes midair collisions seriously, even if between two balloons).

I especially the photo after the jump page; you can check them out here.

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