Editor Lou Brancaccio will have an election Press Talk column in Sunday’s paper and on columbian.com.
Hey, stuff happens.
In this column, I touted a $10 "Don't Do Stupid Stuff" coffee mug, based on past columns I had written about politicians. I told readers I would put the mugs aside if they e-mailed me. We had 72 available.
Well, they sold out in a little over four hours. So unless you heard back from me, there won't be any available on Monday. If you did hear back from me, they will be available at our front desk beginning at 9 a.m.
If you're still interested in having one, I think I've convinced the money guys to reorder. Ship me an email, and I'll get you on a waiting list. And thanks!
I first used the phrase a few years ago when I found myself caught in a staff meeting. We were trying to hash out a set of guidelines — a laundry list — on how reporters should deal with social media.
With Facebook and Twitter in full swing, the opportunity to use them to our advantage was in front of us. But there was also the opportunity to screw it up.
Do we respond to commenters? If so, how? Can something we say be misinterpreted when we cram it into 140 characters? What kind of tone should we take?
The concerns were mounting. The "how-to" list was growing. When someone turned to me for advice on what to do I thought for a moment and responded:
"Don't do stupid stuff."
Frankly, if we all took this advice to heart — including me — this world would be a much better place.
Lately I've been pushing this saying when dealing with political types. There appears to be no end to the crazy things some of our elected officials will do.
• Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke (the M&M boys) hired an unqualified state Sen. Don Benton into a cushy $100,000 county job.
• C-Tran dished out 5 percent raises to some of its employees when the rest of us private sector scrubs are barely getting by.
• State Rep. Jim Moeller squeezed taxpayers to cough up cash for his laundry.
You can't make this stuff up.
So it's been pretty easy to dispense this sage advice to them.
And then I thought (Warning: blatant sales pitch is coming) "What if we put "Don't Do Stupid Stuff" on a coffee mug and sold it?"
Earlier, our graphic artist Marsha Matta did an excellent piece of art for one of my "Stupid Stuff" columns. So it would be pretty simple to slap that on a mug and off we go.
Now my brain was telling me this could be big. Really big. Maybe not "The Columbian can get into the mug business" big, but sweet big nonetheless. I found out pretty quickly, however, that not everyone here at the paper shared my grandiose thought. And just exactly how did I figure that out?
Well the money guys said order 72 of them. What? Well, OK.
So now I guess it's up to you. Have any interest?
The way I see it, they make perfect gifts. Every elected official should have one to remind them — yes — not to do stupid stuff.
What if every one of those 15 newly elected freeholders showed up at their first meeting with a "Don't Do Stupid Stuff" mug? Wouldn't that send quite the message? When they write our county charter, they'll look at that mug and won't sneak any stupid stuff into the mix.
What about bosses? We do stupid stuff a lot. It would be good to see that message every day. Your spouse? You bet. Your kids? Of course!
They're $10 including tax, and the only way you can get one is to come over to The Columbian and ask at our front counter. If you ship me an email I'll put one aside for you until you get here on Monday.
And yes, I bought one for myself. Goodness knows I could use the reminder.