As we labor through this, the summer of economic discontent, we are aware that life still goes on, that day turns into night and then returns, requiring us to get up and get at it once again each day. Still, as our cover story this week observes, there are some rather profound changes afoot in many of our daily routines.
"Plugging In," by music contributor Rich Albertoni, examines the burgeoning world of podcasts, those digital, downloadable pieces of captured culture that convey any manner of aural content and, increasingly, video too. Originally embraced as a music-delivery system, podcasts now comprise news reports, personal commentary and literary efforts as well as other uses that enterprising folks imagine for them.
Long before the general economy malfunctioned, the recording industry encountered complete disarray. People began to change the way they listened to, and bought, their musical entertainment. The change was resisted mightily by the extant purveyors, who were content with the ways things had been done - understandable since they were the ones in charge of that model. These days, however, traditional models are in decline, and new ways of doing business, and not just music business, have a much more open field in which to play. It may be that this recession will accelerate the pace of change wherever we look.
One thing that doesn't change is the dynamic between alcohol and society. Staff writer Joe Tarr, relatively new to Madison, has taken some police ride-alongs, in his case with the Downtown District's Community Police Team. Among this unit's priorities is monitoring the downtown-university bar scene. Over the years, as we raised the drinking age, then lowered it, then raised it again, the bar scene has remained the same - in need of oversight. You can look over Joe Tarr's shoulder as he observes the cops in their enduring ritual.