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County goes with the flow, starts podcast

August 31, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND

Commentary

Welcome to Washington County, dude. In a move the adolescent world has all been waiting for, the County Commissioners have announced that they are now posting their own podcasts on the Web.

How cool is that? And to think, I'd have laid money that at least three of the five commissioners would have thought an iPod was a new strain of pole bean.

Podcasts are the hip, new way of communicating, through audio snippets downloaded off the Internet to your computer or music player.

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No doubt there are some good podcasts out there, but I'll never know about them because at this moment there are about 18 gadzillion podcasts and I have no idea how to sort out the good ones from the junk.

If you have something to say, podcasts are a good place to do it. The problem is, a lot of people who don't have anything to say think it is a good resource as well. Of course, if you're one of those who is insanely curious to find out what some 45-year-old living with mom thinks of the "Star Trek Trilogy," it's a good place to start.

For example, if you go to iTunes right now, you will no doubt already be able to find about 300 podcast editorials dicing me up for confusing "Star Trek" with "Star Wars" just now. At least I think I confused them. That was the intent. I know one or the other had a trilogy, although I may be thinking of "Lord of the Flies."

The commissioners' podcast is bound to be a success, because I have personally visited the site and can heartily endorse the content, which is supposed to introduce a new, younger audience to government.

For example, how can kids today not be enthralled with a podcast that starts out, I am not kidding, with "A ribbon was cut today to formally dedicate a new sewer line."

All I can say is, move over Al Franken.

And I don't mean to be too much of a "tease," but to get you kids even more jacked, consider this actual quote from sewer guy Greg Murray on the new line, which connects city and county sewer systems:

"We have flows that are currently being generated in one side of a drainage basin being transferred to another basin and utilizing capacity of both facilities to facilitate those flows."

You can't generate that kind of buzz for the sewer business in a regular old news story. Probably a whole new generation of sewer directors will be inspired by this. You will hear of new teen bands called "The Pump Stations" and see screen names such as "hot4Fluent" popping up. (For more of this, go to Washington County's egeorge.blogspot.com. You won't be sorry.)

My life is in such tatters though, that I was truly interested in this joint, city-county trading of yuk and I listened to the entire podcast because I think it's a big deal. The fact that I think that way depresses me more than I can say.

Or maybe I was just listening out of sympathy pains, since I have my own podcast (available at antPod.com) and know the pains of searching for weekly topicality - although the piece on "dead relatives" seems to have struck a nerve, for some reason.

Basically, as you know, I am kind of shy about coming out and saying what I really think in my columns, and the podcasts give me a chance to "cut loose."

More interesting on antPod is a podcast called "Alan's Yak" by 15-year-old Alan Sokol. Or at least it usually is interesting, except that this week I am the subject of one of his interviews. I have to confess, I didn't bring much to the table, although I was able to give Alan an "exclusive," that being my theory of an alternate Hagerstown parking universe.

Alan, being a teen, is like Brer Rabbit in what the rest of us elderly people view as an electronic briar patch. He knows how to edit sound clips, fill with background music and add sound effects. Me, not being a teen, simply consider it a win if I can make it through an entire podcast without coughing up a sewer flow.

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