Editorial-What Is "Pajamas Media"?; Kaitlyn-A Toddler Claps With Joy; Fishgiggles

Coming as a New Year's Treat-The Best Short Story Ever Written
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Review- "Open Pajamas Media" - A New Industry Gets Off to a Bad Start

One advantage in being a Nobody Blogger whilst floating around the Blogosphere as if an ephemeral yet keenly astute observer is that I can say a bunch of stuff that others cannot. Because for all the verbiage I've read about that new business - once called "Pajamas Media", then known as "Open Source Media", now "Pajamas Media" again - has been written by persons or personages directly or indirectly involved with this new sensation. Myself, on the other hand, is totally unknown to all of the world-famous pundits, Bloggers and opinion-makers who began Pajamas Media.

I figure I can say snarky things and add some unbiased color to this critique of the business venture that would make Blogging an actual business. None of the vaunted personages who began Pajamas Media are my friend or do I hold a grudge against the infant endeavor as so many do in the Blogosphere. Several are, however, on my daily reading list and I have a certain admiration for them. So it's not like I'm so totally removed from the situation as to not have a clue.

Let's add to this mix the irony that I'm am posting this on one of the biggest Blogs on the Internet. Specifically, lest yon reader get confused, Blogcritics. Which was last I heard number ten or something in hits or whatever determines Blog success. I understand that hits, i.e. visitors to the site, are the currency of the Internet but I'd argue there's more to it than that.

Which is why I am sure, no matter my snarky comments and bit of mirth at Pajama's Media's expense, I am absolutely sure they will be a smashing success.

How could they not with an editorial board like this?

OSM Editorial Advisory Board

Glenn Reynolds, Chair
Michael Barone
Austin Bay
Adam Bellow
Tim Blair
Tammy Bruce
Marc Cooper
David Corn
Richard Fernandez
Jose Guardia
Jane Hall
Larry Kudlow
Michael Ledeen
Clifford May
John Podhoretz
Claudia Rosett
Mark Steyn


Please understand that the title highlighted above-"OSM"- is for "Open Site Media", which was this venture's name after it eschewed the name "Pajamas Media" but is now known as "Pajamas Media" again. Don't make me explain this anymore.

So what if they did the stupid and listened to some guy in a suit and plastered hair? Said Suit telling the respected Bloggers who were the inspiration for this project that the name "pajamas" - whatever - will not do. The word "pajamas" conjures up a sort of silly costume that somehow will detract from the seriousness and dedication of the writing. The very term "Pajamas" as reference to Bloggers and Internet posters across the Blogosphere came from a derogatory term applied to those idiots in their "pajamas" who figured out that the Dan Rather memo about Bush's National Guard service had been written by a five-year old. It was an insult, in other words, and naming a new business venture after an insult - a comfy, cozy and very non-serious insult icon at that - does not make good business sense.

Soon the web masters of such successful Blogs as "Little Green Footballs" and "Powerline" were shamed out of that silly pajama name on to something much more appealing: Open Source Media.

Had I been at that session with the Suit I would shouted out the obvious. What's the name of the biggest search engine on the Internet? "Google"? Ah, now there's a name that embodies silliness. Yet the name of the company has become an actual verb in our lexicon. Oh, and what's the name of the big advertiser/news source/list and newsgroup sponsor on the Internet? "Yahoo"? Well there you go, a name that the Suits would hate. Heck, Yahoo even promotes their service with a melodious "yaaaaahoooooo" over the air waves so they don't mind the hillbilly association with the name.

Since the Internet is still just a toddler, it's a medium that invites originality and thinking outside the box. That name -Open Source Media-, wow, that's catchy. Really original. I'd wake up in the morning with that moniker on the tip of my tongue.

What were they thinking?

So okay. There's a Blogosphere full of folks making fun of Pajamas Media and I read a lot of them. There's a lot of truth out there in the Blogosphere. That logo, a very somber and serious bath robe, has got to go. I'd go with a pair of vertically striped PJ's with out a human body inside. Just the top and bottom of the pajamas. Unworn by any human, the pajamas could be animated, they can be incorporated into logos, well the uses are endless. The empty pair of PJ's, in a fashion, is very representative of the faceless world of the Internet.

Enough about the pajamas. I've done some investigating of Pajamas Media as they lamely begin this unique venture.

Which will, as I've argued, succeed. There's an impressive list on that advisory board, they've raised over three million bucks so scuttlebutt has it, and they had a swank official soiree to announce the formation of what was then "Open Source Media" but I'm not going to explain it again. Judith Miller, she of Scooter Libby and Plamegate fame, was a featured speaker. This makes me wonder if she too plans to become a Blogger. She'd succeed at it what with her experiences. Should be interesting.

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Beyond the impressive contributors to this endeavor, it was a business bound to happen. Bloggers are here to stay and will be part and parcel of our and our children's future. Someone had to begin a business, organize it, get a handle on freedom of speech gone awry. Because give an American a new idea and he'll figure out a way to make money out of it. Ah, yes. Capitalism. It's no longer a bad word. I will not be surprised if a few years from now there won't be a chain of nightwear boutiques sponsored by Pajamas Media.

Pajamas Media will succeed because it began as a brainstorm of ordinary Bloggers and a vision by some already talented, celebrated individuals. The Bloggers who are behind the formation of Pajamas Media are very good writers. They are also very knowledgeable about current events and have become as influential, in many cases, as the acknowledged pundits of the Mainstream media. Before there was a Blogosphere I'd never have had the chance to read Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters. I'd rate Morrissey's writing and knowledge of current events right up there with a John Fund or even George Will.

Many of the Bloggers involved in the start up of this new company have been Blogging for many years. They've built up a readership and have a respectable hit count. Their success will come not from the fact that they've written a daily journal every day or that they've managed to get many search hits. Those are factors, yes. But in the end, no mind the videos, pictures and bling-blings of the Internet, Blogging is still a written medium and only the best and knowledgeable writers will rise to the top.

So How Are They Doing?

So far I've smirked at the name debacle and glommed in on that bathrobe thing. But how are the actual Blog entries at Pajamas Media.?

Before this, let's talk about that web site. All that talent and that grey, blah type thing is the best they can come up with? For none of the personal Blogs of these contributors to Pajamas Media is so boring and plain. Were I surfing the web I'd cruise right on by that site.

Here is one of the first entries at Pajamas Media. It's an attempt at whimsy; a few of the member Bloggers discuss their new venue and the problems they envision. Kind of boring.

So okay, here's something a little more "happening", more the kind of cool and current thing we would expect from such an organization. It's a live Blog of Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Also boring. I'd strongly suggest that the Bloggers at Pajamas Media go over to a group Blog like Free Republic and see how a live stream of a current event really happens. Oh, and that bit with the monkeys, go on, Makes no sense at all. Very annoying.

I know I haven't been very kind to the new Pajamas Media, all the while claiming my sureness of success. Hey, one riveting and clever Mark Steyn column and they're on their way. Everything gets better with time.

In real life I am a Business Consultant of sorts, and I am also a Blogger. Somehow my invitation to join Pajamas Media got lost in the snail mail. I do know a success when I see one and this will be a success.

Follow my advice and the success will come sooner.

I ought to charge them for it.

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Two Year Olds-Unabashed and Uncynical

Kaitlyn Mae came to visit me this past Thanksgiving weekend in this year of our Lord 2005. Since it was very close to her birthday and since both of her sets of grandparents live far away, her birthday was celebrated during her visit.

It was a raucous and confusing time as a visit by Kaitlyn's parents requires visits to grandmothers thirty miles apart and adherence to time schedules, leaf cleaning and weird hunting trips. Kaitlyn Mae, now a precious and rowdy two-year-old, understood the concept of gifts well enough and didn't mind the discrepancy in dates.

Human two-year-olds are little learning machines. They are direct in the midst of learning an entire language (remember how hard those high school language classes were) as well as acquiring social skills and understanding the complexity of the world. Two-year-olds are also do not have an ounce of cynicism in them, that emotion an evolution from personal experiences a two-year-old simply does not possess.

Thus Kaitlyn had no compunction in comparing her beloved Grandmother, me to a monster.

Indeed it was a result of a birthday gift I gave to Kaitlyn that prompted this comparison. I was sleepless the following night that my precious granddaughter thought I looked like a vampire type of guy.

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It now becomes important to regard the photo above. Mind the cute Kaitlyn pictures later as it is the picture in the lower right hand corner that matters here. He is a Sesame Street character known as "The Count". This was the fellow who Kaitlyn pointed to and said "Mom-Mom". In fact, she said it twice, clearly indicating that Mr. Count was somehow Mom-Mom.

The Count's picture was part of a photo montage included with a water color set I gave her for her birthday. It's amazing. Kids can take a water-filled pen type of affair and "draw" on a mat. After a bit the "drawing" disappears. The Count was part of an auxiliary set that could also be "painted" on by the water-crayon. Indeed after The Count was "colored" with the paint pen he did look like that picture above.

Now why on earth would Kaitlyn think this rather evil looking fellow is Mom-Mom?

It was mid of night before I figured it out.

For I'd been wearing a black sweater over a white blouse with extremely long sleeves. The sleeves jutted out past the black sweater just like The Count's in the photo above. In addition, the blouse's collar had sharp points like The Count's cape collar. My blouse's collar was white but the effect was similar.

To Kaitlyn Mae's learning eyes, The Count was dressed just like Mom-Mom and she wanted to point that out to me.

The following Saturday, within the same blur of dates and plans and timeframes, a few of us ended up going to the Delaware flea market. There is a food court inside of a building which merchants use to display their wares out of wind and rain. This food court, oddly, had a "stage" type of affair and on it, and a duo of a man and woman would sing to the eating crowd. They were selling their CD so I suppose it made sense.

The various people in the group obtained their food, napkins, drinks and such and were busily chowing down. Young Kaitlyn sat on the restaurant bench next to Mom-Mom and she too was enjoying some pizza. The duo kept singing but the lunch crowd below their balcony-stage was busy eating, talking and doing the things humans do in this circumstance. After the singing duo sang a song, suddenly, out of the blue, Kaitlyn lets out an excited squeal and begins to clap exuberantly.

For two seconds, count 'em, one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, the entire place was silent. That baby squeal and exuberant applause had come right after the duo finished their song and Kaitlyn couldn't have timed it better. All eyes in the food court looked over to the happy baby. Who was still clapping heartily because by golly if no one else was listening to the song the duo was singing, Kaitlyn Mae was and by golly she enjoyed it.

After the two surprising seconds everyone in the place began to clap. It was the most amusing thing. For the crowd had been absorbed in their own business, including the crowd at Kaitlyn's booth. One baby, unmindful of such social requirements as not screaming at the lunch table, let out a sound of unabashed and unshameful joy at the song she'd so enjoyed. Two seconds and the rest of the crowd clapped and squealed as well. I suspect most were clapping for Kaitlyn than the singing duo but heck, she deserved it.

Reminding us all how wonderful it must be to just enjoy something with no shame and express that joy with no cameras, no direction, no prompting. It was joy and it was just ...there.

The day will come when Kaitlyn will master the language. She will someday likely get mad at her Grandmother and shout unkind words. It won't always be so sweet and precious.

It's a two-year-old thing. That entire crowd thanked Kaitlyn for those few seconds of joy.

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So True. So Very, Very True

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There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.

When asked to define great, he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!"

He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.

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