If it's issue number 34, then it must be Annual Manual week. As always happens, except in years of abnormal astrological juxtaposition, the magnum opus of the Isthmus Publishing Company, the publication that started a nationwide trend, comes out on this week, signaling the imminent end of summer and the beginning of the school year.
A lot of effort is put into the production of this compendium of all things (well, pretty much) Madison. Starting with supplements editor Linda Falkenstein and continuing through interns (thanks to photography interns Jeremy Sailing and Sam Clarke, who took many of the photos illustrating Madison's Favorites), art, edit, admin and ad staffs, just about everybody gets involved in producing the Manual. And then the job is still not done.
Annually, manually, a small army of delivery folk make sure you get your Isthmus at approximately the same time you normally do on this special week. It's no easy task. The AnMan/newspaper combo weighs about three-quarters of a pound, making a 2,000-newspaper route weigh in at about 1,500 pounds. Try stuffing that into your Corolla.
Actually, the 14 people who deliver the 18 routes that comprise 677 distribution spots drive trucks, cars and minivans. The Annual Manual-stuffed newspapers start arriving at the distribution pickup dock from our Milwaukee printer at 4:30 a.m. and continue past 6:30 a.m. On a normal Thursday, 90% of Isthmus is delivered by noon. This week the process will probably take until 1:30 or 2:00 p.m. The increased bulk of the delivery package necessitates repeat trips back to the dock.
So thanks again to everyone who aided in the appearance of what I reckon to be the 32nd edition of the Annual Manual, with special recognition to circulation manager Tom Dehlinger's band of dedicated newspaper purveyors. This is a week we can all be happy with a job well done.