There are no new ideas under the sun

One of the tricky things about working on the web is that your work sometimes feels very ephemeral. I started my career in book publishing and books just feel very solid and substantial. It’s a bit of a mirage — books go out of print all the time. But it feels more “real.” The web, by contrast, makes newspapers (the physical stuff, not the industry) seem substantial. Here today, gone tomorrow. Sure, we have the Wayback Machine, but it’s not the same.

And yet, stuff on the web can live on and on and on. I was the food editor at iVillage back in 2002. Much has changed since I left — they got bought by NBC, re-designed more times than I can count and even launched a new logo. But bits of my work live on. I was just surfing around and I found this: What’s Your Cookie Personality?

If you think Facebook invented quizzes then you are either very young or you have been asleep the past 10 years. iVillage learned pretty early on that women love quizzes and will take endless numbers of them. Of course the gals at Cosmo knew that long before iVillage was a twinkle in Nancy Evans’s eye. What’s old is new and old and then new again.

This guy really needs to stop talking

AP Newsbreak: SC gov ‘crossed lines’ with women

I just don’t get what the strategy is here.  Why doesn’t he just shut up and get back to work?  It doesn’t seem that he’s making anything better.  Has he just completely lost his marbles?

Oh, and by the way, the quote about “trying to fall back in love with his wife”?  Yeah, I know what I’d say if I was his wife.  “Don’t bother.”  And I’m betting his married women constituents are thinking the same thing.

Fashion Victim

I forgot how ugly maternity clothes are.  I specifically forgot how ugly my maternity clothes are.  Do I really have to wear this stuff again?

If you’ve got money to burn there is such a thing as gorgeous maternity wear.  I’ve stopped visiting this site because it’s really just depressing.

Facebook Fan Page URL Debacle

This whole issue with vanity URLs for Facebook Fan pages is getting a little annoying.

I tried to register my company back when they first announced the vanity URL thing, but then they made the rule that you had to have 1,000 fans. The page said they’d let smaller pages get their usernames on June 28 (today). Got up this morning and still nothing.

It looks like maybe they are opening it up at midnight tonight. No way I’m staying up for that. Will try in the morning.

Facebook has a mechanism in place if someone grabs your tradename, but I’m sure it will be a hassle. Just want to get this thing secured and move on with life …

The Hypocrisy “Problem”?

It’s common wisdom among Democrats that all these Republican scandals are going to really, really hurt them not on the facts, but because of the inherent hypocrisy they represent.

First, let’s put aside the fact that Democrats can be just as hypocritical. There are plenty of Dems who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act while simultaneously cheating on their wives. Every modern politician does a fair amount of values speak.

But it is fair to say that Republicans have built their brand around these values. It is their story and they are sticking to it. They are the party that preaches, quite literally, family values, abstinence education, traditional marriage and so on. So when these guys get caught with their pants around their ankles, won’t voters see them for the hypocrites that they are?

Maybe. Or maybe not.

Charles Blow in todays’ Times certainly reaches the conclusion that this is a problem for them. That they should worry less about what others are doing in their bedrooms. But the graphic in his column actually reveals something very interesting. It shows that rates of divorce, teen pregnancy and purchases of adult online entertainment are higher, on average, in red states than in blue states. To put it simply, the red staters talk conservative and act liberal and the blue staters talk liberal and act conservative.

But does this mean Republican scandals will present a bigger problem for them than they do for Democrats? Maybe, in fact, the real hypocrites are all those red state voters who preach (and vote for) conservative values but are busy cheating on their wives and downloading porn. One conclusion to draw is that the very fact that they are hypocritical is what makes them so judgemental and that they will condemn the politicians who screw up even as they do the same things. Or perhaps they will just think “There but for the grace of God, at least I don’t have to stand in front of new cameras when my wife catches me cheating.”

Lessons in Crisis Communication: The Sanford Affair

I think it goes without saying that Mark Sanford has screwed up. Now what?

A crisis communication specialist was on NPR on Thursday (before the Jackson news moved) to talk about how Sanford had handled the situation so far.  His advice to politicians who find themselves in situations like this:  drag the wife out, issue a short, simple statement and then don’t take questions.

I disagree with the first part and totally agree with the second and third.

Don’t drag the wife out. She’s been humiliated enough. In fact, I think most women feel a visceral disgust when they see powerful men screw up and make their poor wife stand next to them. The expression on Silda Spitzer’s face is seared on my brain and it will always make me think a bit less of the former governor.

But not taking questions is really great advice. The pro’s rationale was that there is really no good answer you can give to the questions that are going to be asked. Give a simple, to-the-point statement (which Sanford didn’t) and then get off the stage.

And now he really needs to stop talking. He held a televised (?!) meeting with his Cabinet today to apologize to them. Um, seriously? Take advantage of the Jackson tragedy and disappear. Honestly I don’t think there is anything this guy can say or do now to make his situation any better — his national ambitions are toast and he’ll be lucky to hold onto his current job. But continuing to talk can only make his situation worse. Keep quiet, fix your marriage and hope that American’s attention spans really are as short as we are always told they are.

Fluffy Won’t Take Dictation

I’ve long had a problem with absurd holidays. Now I’m from Massachusetts where this is practically an industry. We even have holidays that politicians call “hack holidays.”

This is a state that celebrates Bunker Hill Day, which suspiciously always falls on the same day as St. Patrick’s Day. The so-called Battle of Bunker Hill wasn’t even fought on Bunker Hill but Breed’s Hill. When I was a reporter, I remember covering a huge battle over whether retailers could open on Columbus Day.

At least when I was a kid things closed on holiday (and Sundays). Friendly’s, the movies and a trip to CVS were highlights of a three-day weekend. Today, Best Buy opens at midnight the Friday after Thanksgiving.

But what is the deal with the Take Your Dog to Work Day? This “holiday” makes even less sense than the Take Your Child to Work Day. Let’s face it: unless you work in a pizzeria or an ice cream shop, your child does not want to go to work with you. Places I’ve worked that have hosted these events typically run out of things to do with the precious little darlings by noon. The kids spend the rest of the day whining about when they are going home. It takes the cleaning crew a couple of nights to pull the cookie crumbs, crayons and punch out of the carpet.

And why do they have to hold this during the school year? My parents told me ad nauseam that my job was to go to school. And do we really want to introduce a child to the typical office of gossip, meaningless meetings, complaints about overwork, the biohazard office fridge and the someone who doesn’t flush? Can’t we keep them innocent?

But, at least a child can fetch coffee, photocopy or listen to a vendor pitch a product. What’s Fluffy or Pepper supposed to do for eight hours?

Happy Father’s Day!

We had a nice day. Preston requested challah French toast for breakfast, which Maddie helped to make. Maddie also got Daddy a keychain with their picture on it. In the late afternoon they took a walk down to the local park so Mommy could take a nap.

Only problem is we didn’t take many pictures today. I did get this cute one of them reading books before bed. Her onesie says “Daddy’s wrapped around my finger.” How very true.

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