Contextual advertising is a good thing. The NFL Draft is the biggest sports story going on, so the ads Pandora placed on ESPN encouraging husbands to “pick the right gift” is pretty clever. (And let’s be honest – this is definitely about targeting a guy buying for his wife or baby mama and staying out of the dog house. There’s nothing wrong with that.)
But the image of Mel Kiper peeking from the bottom? That’s unnecessary… and maybe a little creepy.
The President released a nice statement praising former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher upon the announcement of her passing today. Kudos to him for that.
There hasn’t been a tribute image posted on any White House or Organizing for America channels yet, though. Given his tribute to Neil Armstrong’s passing, expect something like this:
After Michelle Obama’s homage to suburban Mom dances on Jimmy Fallon on Friday night, Michelle Malkin responded with this on Sunday. You don’t have to watch it, because for the most part it’s painful:
Malkin’s response time is great perfect – her video was up before the original had a chance at Monday morning virality (which was a lock because it was actually kind of funny). That’s good, but it’s where the good stops; Malkin’s video is kind of lame.
[Note: It's still better than my video, which is linked here. Oh, that's right, I didn't make a video. Duly noted. Back to the cheap shots...]
The problem largely stems from the word “liberal” in Malkin’s title. While factually accurate, it raises the immediate flag that this is speaking only to a political audience, the kind that will descend on the National Harbor for CPAC in just a few weeks. There’s nothing wrong with rallying the troops, but Malkin can probably do better.
“Better” might be a mock video response that substitutes the First Lady for the President himself, bringing Michelle Obama’s decidedly non-political and self-deprecating bit into contrast with her hyper-political, self-aggrandizing husband. It would definitely drop the political labels, focusing more on DC versus regular voters, rather than conservatives versus liberals. And it would have to emphasize humor more than scoring week debate points, because in videos like this funny is most important.
Malkin tallied over 65,000 views at press time. That’s impressive, but if her audience wasn’t so narrow, she might have tripled that. There’s nothing wrong with rallying the troops, but real advancement of center-right ideas isn’t going to come from overtly political videos that preach to the choir.
[Still better than my video.]
There shall be no perforated cardstock exchanged today at Salemwood Elementary School in Malden, Massachusetts: the school has banned Valentine’s Day in the interest of cultural equality:
David DeRuosi, superintendent of Malden Public Schools, defended the principal’s decision – explaining that with new residents and new mandates “certain traditions we have to modify and adapt.”
If you’re scoring at home, that means they are sending and receiving Valentines anyway. That’s even more ridiculous than the idea of cancelling Valentine’s Day altogether. They’re doing all the same stuff, just calling it something else. It’s a lot of motion but no progress.
There are four really ridiculous points here:
1. Cultural Equality through NO CULTURE FOR ANYONE
The administration at Salemwood has a tough task, and no doubt they try their best to deal with a diverse student body. Still, how does one arrive at the conclusion that the best way to be multi-cultural is to be non-cultural? The best way to include outsiders isn’t to eliminate customs; inclusion means including them.
This is an American cultural holiday, even if it has its roots in a religious celebration. This is about large corporations influencing buying decisions through heavy media inundation, and there is nothing more American than that. If you’re new to the nation, this is a good lesson.
In the interest of the good ol’ American melting pot, it’s also a good idea to reach out to parents and ask the ones who may be able to do so to buy an extra pack of Valentine cards in case someone in the class doesn’t have the extra scratch to buy those precious perforated cards. And of course, such transactions need to be on the down-low.
Also with inclusion in mind, teachers aren’t out of line to send every student home with a full list of his or her classmates, so that he or she can sit there the night before and write out all their names on those cards. This mode of torture will ensure that every child gets a card, and that every child practices their penmanship.
2. Valentine’s Day cancelled. EDUCATION CRISIS SOLVED!
The whole episode conjures the mental image of a principal or any other educational official, struck with insomnia staring at the ceiling of his or her bedroom. Nationally, our school are struggling, math and science scores are through the floor, and any improvement will have to come on a shoestring budget.
Which problem to address first? Apparently, holidays are the major impediment to learning, and must be restrained. The answer to why our students aren’t keeping up? They must feel uncomfortable in the classroom.
(By the way, who is more uncomfortable at school than the nerds? And they get awesome grades.)
Truthfully, these folks may sit around for six days out of the week thinking of brilliant new ways to get kids to suck less at math, and we’d never hear about it because the national media wouldn’t cover it. (And if they did cover it, no one would retweet it.) With that grain of salt taken, this is one of the ideas from a brainstorming session that ought to be swiped off the white board as quickly as possible.
And note that Valentine’s Day is not being eliminated so that the students can spend more time doing multiplication tables. Actually, if you talk to the principal, it isn’t being eliminated at all…
3. Wait, they aren’t using this extra time to learn more?
How is Salemwood using all the time saved by passing out Valentine’s Cards?
[Principal Carol] Keenan said they were not cancelling Valentine’s Day. Instead, the elementary school is going to celebrate a modified version.
“Every student is making a friendship card for another student,” she said. “I wanted to make sure that every single student is given the opportunity to get a card and to also give a card. I didn’t want some students feeling left out.”
So it’s just a rebranding deal? It sounds like Salemwood is in cahoots with Carlton Cards, trying to cut into a Hallmark Holiday.
It isn’t clear how much though, effort, and study went into trading out Valentines for Friendship Cards, but it was too much. Cancellation of classroom celebrations in favor of more time doing multiplication tables might sound less fun, but at least there would be a clear rationale.
4. Watch your language!
The most disturbing aspect of Salemwood’s reasoning?
Keenan also addressed the language barrier – noting there are 400 students in the school who don’t speak English.
She feared they “wouldn’t understand the concept of having to bring a card or get a card.”
Read that again: There are 400 kids in the school who don’t speak English. That’s not just a big hurdle to communicating with their peers, it’s a potentially huge impediment to finding a well-paying job and establishing a successful life in this country.
Cancelling or rebranding the concept of Valentine’s Day doesn’t help these students, but devoting some time to teach them English probably would.
It’s not the main one, though, just the comically costumed mascots who run around Nats Park once per game. The nightly race among Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt is getting a fifth contestant, to be announced tomorrow.
Any addition has to be the perfect President.
Naturally, DC-centric media outlets have been running polls since the hint was dropped last fall. So who do you pick to join the Rushmores? George, Abe, Tom, and Teddy represent historically significant figures who are also outside of mainstream controversy, so you have to balance fame and significance.
We can eliminate most Presidents for being too boring. Sure, people like Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley had the same office as Washington and Linclon – just like Bubba Crosby had the same job as Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. (Martin Van Buren goes in this group, too – even if it means a harsh visit from the Van Buren Boys.) James Madison, James Monroe, Ulysses Grant, and Harry Truman were more significant historically, but in a history class kind of way. They’re on the Dwight Evans/Dale Murphy level of Presidents – if you watched them play they were pretty good, but today’s ten-year-old baseball fans probably don’t know them yet. There are the incompetent one-termers, like Carter and Hoover, and corrupt cesspool dwellers like Nixon and Harding (who suffers from guilt by association here).
For historically significant, household-name Presidents, there’s Reagan, JFK, FDR, and Jackson. Given the pro-government-expansion zeitgeist of modern Washington, Reagan would be an out-of-place choice; in a few years when Republicans control everything that may resonate more. FDR’s confinement to a wheelchair would make for an interesting cameo but probably disqualify him long-term.
JFK has made a previous appearance, so he is probably the favorite. It’s a good pick: there are elements of the JFK presidency that appeal to both conservatives and liberals, and he was a larger-than-life celebrity President. The main strike against him is that a giant, foam rubber caricature might diminish the grimness of his Presidency’s end, but it hasn’t seemed to be the case for Lincoln.
Now that we’ve selected the next President to join the race, here’s an even better idea: How about a rotating “Guest President”? FDR could win a race in his wheelchair one night against the Phillies; the next night the Diamondbacks might see a rotund Taft bouncing past the finish line ahead of Teddy. Nixon could unfurl the “finish line” from a reel off an old-style tape recorder. Ford could fall down. Grant could fall down drunk. James Buchanan could hit on a guy in the front row. These jokes practically write themselves.
On the other hand, since the Nats are actually good now, maybe all this is an exercise in overthink – after all, in Milwaukee, they just have sausages.
It’s 1951. Underneath the stands at Old Yankee Stadium, Joe DiMaggio dresses after a game, a gaggle of sportswriters crowding around his locker eager for a nugget of wisdom from Joltin’ Joe. A cub reporter from the 78 daily newspapers New York City had at the time elbows his way through and asks if he plans will celebrate tonight’s win with a late night rendezvous with Marilyn Monroe.
Joe’s eyebrows raise in a mixture of mockery and disbelief. ”I’m not going to answer that,” he chuckles. ”That’s a clown question, bro.”
As the entire world knows now, that quote didn’t come from the Yankee Clipper but the National Treasure, Bryce Harper. There were t-shirts for sale by the next morning, there are video mash up jokes, and, of course, tweets-a-plenty.
Mark it down: this is when Washington DC officially accepted baseball. For all Ryan Zimmerman’s heroics as the franchise’s first home-grown star since the relocation from Montreal and Stephen Strasburg’s at-times otherworldly pitching and always otherworldly hype, nothing feeds this particular home town crowd like a witty retort to the press. Inside the Beltway Bubble, pundits pondered over whether the quote might find it’s way to the podium at the White House briefing room.
Jokes aside, it’s a valid point. And one the other Mormon looking to stick around DC might think about. Harper’s disdain for the reporter (if not his word choice) might work for politicians. Remember the infamous 2008 interview where Katie Couric asked inane inquiries about Sarah Palin’s news consumption habits? Palin did herself no favors trying to answer what were pretty dumb questions.
When done right, a snarky, off-the-cuff comeback is more powerful than answering a question “the right way.” That reporter who wanted to know if Harper was going to crack open a cold one might have been put off by Harper’s flippant response, but it didn’t matter. The rest of the world saw it, and liked it, and unless that reporter is friends with Cole Hamels there isn’t much he can do. Harper’s message is out.
It’s doubtful that the communications firms in town are prepping an office for Communications Strategist Bryce Harper after his playing days are over – he may be a whale of a ballplayer, but his wisecrack was just a wisecrack. Maybe there’s a second lesson there though: that if you have to overthink your response to a question, your answer will suffer.
Or as Yogi Berra put it, you can’t think and hit at the same time.
It’s been about 45 days since my last post. It’s okay, I have an excuse – two excuses, in fact, in the form of two brand new beautiful twin baby daughters. It is, as you might expect, an extremely happy time for me.
A few years back, I turned 30, and took the opportunity to look back on the lessons I’d learned in three decades of life. In 45 days of being a Dad, I’ve learned even more:
- There’s no such thing as normal.
- If you want God to laugh, tell Him your plans.
- There is no equality among the sexes. Women are far superior.
- Guardian angels are not only real, but apparently transferable.
- You may think you know what’s going on. But you have no idea. Just do your best, hustle, take care of your family the best way you can, and things have a way of working out.
- Sleep is less necessary than you would think, and underrated.
- Moms are incredibly strong. Dads just pretend to be, but they a really softies. (That includes Granddads.)
- It is surprisingly easy to fall asleep in a chair, even if the chair isn’t all that comfortable.
- All that complaining pregnant women do about babies kicking in the womb? It’s legit. Babies’ legs are strong, and they kick with fury.
- If you are up all night, the best options for TV viewing are old sitcoms or cartoons. Movies make you think too much.
- The occasional McDonald’s run can do wonders for morale.
- There is no such thing as a small milestone.
- Mom can make everything better.
- One look from your kid and or kids will completely reorient your to do list.
- For being so small and fragile, babies are surprisingly tough.
- Personalities traits start earlier than you think. Sometimes, they are prenatal.
- Songs that you would normally not like can become favorites if they happen to come on the radio at the right time to remind you of your children.
- There’s always plenty of work waiting for you at work, so don’t try to get it all done at once.
- Remember the way you feel when you change that first diaper. You’ll be excited, and think it isn’t so bad. That wears off quickly.
- People tend to have lots of questions about your kids. And a lot of times, it is fun to answer those questions.
- Although it is good to learn from and study others, the most important role models are Mom and Dad.
- Sometimes doing what’s right for your kids requires small sacrifice on your part – not something that’s big like not getting a new car or staying in more than you go out, but something small like not holding them when you’re sick. These small sacrifices are hard to prepare for and are tougher than one might think.
- Life is a lot like playing the infield. You won’t field every situation cleanly all the time, so just try to keep it in front of you.
- When dealing with doctors and nurses, there are no stupid questions.
- A Dad can do a lot for his kids by maintaining his love affair with their Mom. Being a good Dad starts with being a good husband.
- Hospital food isn’t bad if you order the right stuff and you are ravenously hungry.
- The seconds between the moment you first see your child and when you hear her cry feel like years.
- No matter how big they get, you will always see your children in the most helpless vulnerable state they were in as a newborn.
- Mobile phones and social networks are there for your convenience in communicating with others. You don’t always have to pick up, and in fact sometimes you shouldn’t.
- It’s tough to read out loud and make a story sound interesting.
- “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” – Marlon Brando in The Godfather.
- The Beatles were full of crap. In addition to love you need patience, humility, faith, and occasionally a short memory.
- Being a Dad isn’t about having all the answers all the time. Sometimes, it’s all about looking like you have all the answers.
- There is nothing wrong with taking candy from a baby, as long as it’s your baby. They can’t eat it, anyway.
- Sometimes it isn’t what you do, but how you do it that counts.
- Trust your gut.
- Get ready to never be ready.
- Time does funny things when there’s a baby in your arms. An hour goes by in a minute.
- When you say prayers for your kids, all you can really ask for is the strength and wisdom to be the best parent possible. But really, what more could you want?
- It really does take a village to raise a child. Remember to thank the villagers who help you out.
- There’s always something to worry about.
- Don’t get so distracted by where you would like to be that you forget to appreciate where you have gotten to.
- Keep laughing, no matter what.
- At times, life happens the way it’s going to happen, and you can’t get overwhelmed or excited. Just enjoy the toboggan ride.
- When you’re faced with a day that’s gray and lonely, the sun really will come out tomorrow.
The Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that lawyers could not claim to represent every single woman who worked at Wal-Mart ever in a gender discrimination lawsuit against the World’s Biggest Retailer. It’s probably worth noting that the Supreme Court is mostly male.
Now, the intrepid Center for Responsive Politics notes that Wal-Mart gives more in political contributions to men than to women. On the surface, this might look like an organization starved for attention trying to inject itself into a media cycle. But maybe they’re onto something.
Maybe Wal-Mart is actually advancing the cause of men over women as a core tenet of their company’s mission.
In her dissenting opinion, Justice Ginsburg noted that though 70% of Wal-Mart’s hourly employees are women, only 30% of management are chicks. (I believe Justice Ginsburg actually used the term “chicks” as well; at least that’s what the NRSC tweeted.) Clearly, Wal-Mart has a habit of moving men up their own corporate ladder; and if CRP is to be believed, that philosophy extends to the political realm as well.
Wal-Mart’s shadow mission – beyond providing low-cost goods – must be to ensure there are as many men in positions of power within society as possible. Sam Walton’s vision for America – and possibly the world – was a society run by a brotherhood of males while women are cast into the shadows of society and used only to breed more humans.
That’s the only solution that makes sense – right?
Quick, is that from yesterday or six decades ago? The answer is: both.