Talking about the economy has become as monotonous as talking about the weather.
The new small talk:
"How's it goin'?"
An awkward silence stretches between the two acquaintances. They realize they don't have much in common, and both look at the walls and floor searching for a thread of common ground for conversation. Finally one of them finds something to fill the empty space.
"Sure is cold out, and I'm broke."
"Yeah. Looks like snow and a drop in my 401(k)."
The economic roller coaster has finally reached an all-out plunge, and it's causing a lot of changes in people and in businesses.
You'll have noticed by now that your friendly SE Live, along with the daily Southeast Missourian, has been dieting and is now about an inch smaller.
The new size is an attempt to continue delivering a paper in this down economy and serve our readers on a daily — and for you art, music and theater junkies, on a weekly — basis. You can still get the stories and the news and the calendars in our print product, but for the extras (and for multimedia we couldn't possibly put on a page) you can go online.
It's a step in the direction a lot of papers have taken. This slightly thinner size is yet another effect of the economy.
But in economic times like these, there's always a bright spot. Another weather reference about clouds and silver and whatnot.
Art. Music. Creativity. You don't need much money to produce it or to enjoy it. There's not a gallery in town that charges patrons. Most music venues are free, and if they do charge a cover, it can be covered by a 10 spot, usually a five.
Movies have always been a booming business, even in dark times. Nothing like losing yourself in an action plot or falling in love in a theater to brighten your mood. There are five new ones this week, and the films still showing have multiple award nominations among them.
The price of creativity can never change. It's free. Perhaps with all this newfound time, you'll find a new talent. Pencil and paper and a park bench is all you need.