Better Than Sex

Dinner and conversation with my son. Certainly less frequent than sex, not that sex is all that …never mind. I was born to be a dad. I have to work to be a good spouse.

My son arrived home from his first term of college two days before Thanksgiving. Due to my work and travel schedule and his social calendar it took until December 23 for us to spend time together…just the two of us. The plan was to have at least two just-the-two-of-us events. The one yet to come, if it happens in his last week at home, will involve something that we do together other than eat.  I have found that if we get out of the house then there is a better chance of having real and meaningful interaction.

He could not decide on a restaurant or even the type of food to consume so I picked Wholly Frijoles since I knew he liked Mexican food and he had not been there before. It was a small place with good food. I good place to talk.

D and I often have trouble discussing tough issues. There were some out there. Typically I am the tough parent or in his mind the bad parent. Therefore, the question in my head was do I tackle these on the first and possibly only night we had together? I want some of his memories to be of the few great times we shared as Father and Son. I want to set a good example for when he is in my role. I decided to play it by ear.

We talked about things big and small for a long time. I shared some stories from his Mom’s side of the family that I had heard earlier that night from his grandparents. We talked about school, girls, which actresses we found attractive, Elf (I had seen it the night before on a plane), other movies and just stuff.

The food came. It was plentiful and tasty. Just the way I like food.

I decided to go for the tough conversation. I let him know that I might have saved this for another time if I knew there would be one. I asked him to listen. In return I got defensive body language and at one time a statement that he would prefer to not talk about it. In the end he did listen. I think he even heard. He shared ideas and overall it was a positive and productive talk. One that did not take away from the overall good feelings of the evening. I even got a hug at the end of the night.

I wish I could have these moments consistently at least twice a month instead of once in a blue moon. Same way I fell about…oh never mind.

CraigsList: Technology Enhancing Commerce

The Internet is a beautiful thing.  It can bring together people from many different worlds. It is invaluable in business in so many ways including bringing buyers and sellers together efficiently. In a failing economy we need all the help we can get. CraigsList is one of  the Internet’s commerce success stories.

I admit, I rarely take advantage of the possibilities of the Internet to enhance my life. While I often need tradesmen to fix up my 80 year old house I have not explored Angie’s list. And while I have several items to sell–primarily some furniture if any of my readers are  interested– I have heard of but not used CraigsList.

I start by being amazed that someone would have the idea and the execution skill to create an Internet business from something that was once dominated by large public companies–in the case of  classified ads CraigsList is helping to drive newspapers from the face of the earth. How can you take nothing and make it into revenues? True genius.

Actually the true genius is knowing where the money is.  In the case of personal ads it seems to be in prostitution. While no statistics have been presented on the percent of CraigsList’s revenues that prostitution provides, the Company has refused to eliminate its Erotic Services section.

On one hand there is the position of the typical sex worker (ba dum dum). In this CNET article a 35 year old sex worker expounds on how Craigs List has enhanced her work life.  “Craigslist is important to helping us avoid violence,” says the woman, who is originally from Europe. “Craigslist is a way to filter out that kind of person…and with Craigslist there is no need for pimps.” (BTW, all economists know that eliminating the middle man, pimps for example, make for a more efficient economy.)

The other point of view is represented in the CNET article by Chicago Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. On Thursday, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office sued CraigList,  accusing the Internet site of being one of the largest sources of prostitution in the country.

In the interview with CNET News, Dart said that the kind of sex services being advertised on Craigslist frequently involves minors as well as people forced into prostitution against their will. The federal lawsuit filed by Dart’s office claims that Craigslist’s erotic section is a powerful marketing tool for pimps and prostitutes and makes it easier for criminals to elude police.

I am sure that the leaders of CraigsList have good reason for doing what they are doing ($$$). If a few minors become collateral damage in having a more efficient economy so be it.

The first thought in my head when I heard about this has its basis more in pure economics than commerce. Does a more efficient market merely enhance the profitability of the transaction or does it increase the supply and demand for the services? In other words, in addition to being able to sell my furniture can I thank CraigsList for increasing the number of prostitutes and those seeking their services.?

One last thought was supplied by a caller to a morning radio show I listen to on my way to work. Why would anyone go to the Erotic services section of CraigsList and pay for sex when they could click on the Personals section and find many people willing to have sex for free? Now in today’s tough economic times how can you turn down a free sample?