As a man, my approach to shopping is targeted commerce: identify what it is I want, find out who sells it, go there and buy it (or order it online), use/wear/eat/sit on/drive it. If I find out that I don’t like what I bought, I have to reconsider my strategy. I know it’s not a very attractive process to the Admiral, for whom the hunt is as important as the kill, but it works for me.

My track record of impulse buys is not impressive. Because I’m attracted by shiny objects that promise to simplify or enhance my dreary life, I have developed the Seven Day Rule. If, after seven days, I still want the item, can afford it, and can rationalize its purchase, I go for it. I have learned that when I violate the Seven Day Rule it I usually regret it.

That brings me, inevitably, to Sarah Palin. Judging from news reports, I spent more time deciding on my last car than John McCain spent picking a running mate. Surely this task didn’t sneak up on him and catch him by surprise: “Oh my god, the convention’s next week and I need a new suit and a vice presidential candidate!”

McCain’s impulse buy is shiny and dare I say it, hot. But her political history is thin on experience while long on ideology. Right now a veritable army of reporters has descended on Alaska. The next few weeks promises a number of revelations about her, her family, and her politics. She may hope to slide back into obscurity if early stories are any indication. We shall see…