IMR: 1998: February: 23 -- Monday, 11:56 p.m.
Mom's Place, Mililani, Hawai`i
Magazine writing class wasn't bad today. The apparent (if not scheduled) topic of discussion was editorial versus advertising and the ethics of business.
Do you write about a product because its manufacturer is a longtime sponsor? What if the company threatens to pull its ads otherwise? What if you're also getting pressure from your publisher, or if your magazine is losing money?
Borg -- conceding that there were times things were done to appease advertisers -- related one time he stood his moral ground even though it meant losing the ad.
The beef was with the Royal Hawaiian Mint and their coins commemorating the 200th anniversary of the unification of the Hawaiian islands under Kamehameha I. Not only did Borg not do an article on the coins, but he criticized the ad as being inaccurate. The date on the coin was wrong, by virtue of the island of Kaua`i holding out another 80 years or so longer than its neighbors.
In a perfect world, the class resolved, the advertiser should be told to (in Katrina's words) "piss off."
"Aww, you can't do that," Borg teased.
"Yeah," said another student. "You'd lose money!"
"Next thing you know, they'd lay you off and move their offices to the mainland," Borg said, in a not-too-subtle reference to what happened to his last job as editor of Hawai`i Magazine.
"And you'd probably have to go into teaching or something," I added.
Borg also shared the biggest red-faced moment of his career on the city desk at The Honolulu Advertiser.
Back in the mid-80s or so, Grace Guslander -- founder of the Coco Palms hotel on Kaua`i (as seen in some Elvis flick, I think) -- was very ill. Now it is standard practice for obituaries to be prewritten, and there was already a glowing tribute to Guslander on file. As she remained hospitalized, Borg had the obit's author bring it up to date.
Finally one night, Borg's supervising editor, also a good friend of the Guslander family, came in and told him she had died. They added the date and the name of the hospital to the obit lede and put it on the front page.
The next morning, then-City Editor Dr. Tom Brislin called Borg and said, "She's not dead, Jim."
And she wasn't. Apparently, the Telephone Game Effect had somehow warped the news Borg's boss got, and no one thought to doublecheck with the hospital. The local radio stations had a field day, and it took months for the Advertiser to live it down.
With a personality profile due in a couple of weeks, Borg suggested someone find the still-kicking Guslander and interview her on what it was like to be able to read your her obituary. Imagine reading dozens of warm, gushing quotes from friends and colleagues on how great a person you were.
Up on Wednesday, editor and publisher of MidWeek.
In preparation for the end of our interim tenancy at Hale O Mom, and at the relentless urging of William, we spent Sunday cleaning the Waikiki apartment.
It was no small project. We moved most of the furniture out onto the walkway, then swept, mopped and waxed every nook and cranny (even behind the fridge); some scuffs took scouring pads and loads of elbow grease. William dedicated an entire hour to disassembling and decrudding out our ancient box fan and even cleaned our bus-exhaust-coated patio. I went after the screens and sills. We must've turned two rolls of paper towels black.
Between the living room and bedroom efforts, we took a break. We ordered out for pizza and watched the end of "Tora! Tora! Tora!"
Although Katie required a lot of attention (and feeding -- she's been ravenous lately), even Jen dusted the furniture and scrubbed the bathroom.
As we moved everything back in, we rearranged the furniture. Several times, actually, much to William's frustration. Nevertheless, in the end, the place was brighter and seemingly much bigger than it ever was.
We've got a dresser and a corner set up for the crib. I've repacked old, crumpled boxes and put tons of assorted junk into new boxes (all of which, supposedly, will be put into storage at mom's). Anytime we're ready to give up mom's help (ha!), there's a great home to return to.
The place looks so good, in fact, that even though we have an appointment to see the 1-bedroom Ke`eaumoku apartment tomorrow afternoon, I'm not so sure I want to even consider moving now.
Unless the Ke`eaumoku apartment is something else, I'd be happy to stay in Waikiki.
Forgot to mention how over the recent long weekend, Katie went on her first major shopping trip.
She already goes out now and then, usually when Jen's cabin fever peaks. There's the occasional short drive around the neighborhood, and recently we went to WalMart to pick up shampoo. We stopped for a snack at the McDonald's Express, and Katie ate too. Fortunately, save for a few nosy brats, there were few rude stares.
But on President's Day, mom, Jen and I headed to Pearlridge to do some serious baby shopping. On the pricing list were baby slings, compact cribs and breast pumps.
With Katie strapped snugly in her Mega Stroller and a heavily packed diaper bag, we hit Toys 'R' Us first. Then, while mom drove the car over to the mall lot, we rolled Katie on foot to Pearlridge Downtown. The only store there was Sears, and we browsed the baby department in no time.
Then it was over to Pearlridge Uptown for J.C. Penney's, Liberty House, Gymboree, Bubblegum and Motherhood Maternity.
I remarked that the differences between Downtown and Uptown couldn't be greater. The former is always crowded, but usually with cruising adolescents. The latter has less traffic, but I imagine its shoppers are more affluent. A reasonable trade-off for retailers, I guess.
After hitting the major department stores, we resolved that the Snugli® or Fisher Price® baby carriers were good bets ($24-$44). We also found a convertible bassinet, crib and playpen ($119) that we'll probably get if the full-size crib from cousin Jennifer is too big for our apartment.
Every store struck out on breast pumps -- most carrying the same two Gerber® and Evenflo® models -- except for Bubblegum, which by some huge stroke of luck actually had the motorized version of the Medela® pump we used at Kapi`olani Medical Center. The cycling electric pump -- no larger than a medium potato -- was the only thing seperating it from the other brands, but its price ($99) was twice as high as any other.
We (or rather mom, wonderful wonderful mom) bought it anyway. Anything to get away from the medieval torture devices that seem to make up the rest of the market.
After a week or so of use, it was a worthwhile purchase. We haven't expressed all that much, but that's more a result of our bad timing and laziness than the pump's ability to get milk. When we use it, it doesn't hurt and works well.
As Jen says, "Moo."
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