U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) testifies before the House Rules...

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) testifies before the House Rules Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (May 29, 2011) Credit: AP

We keep teaching this lesson to the children, then refusing to learn it ourselves.

You know the lesson I mean: The Internet is everywhere and forever.

We say, kiddies, keep those spring break photos off Facebook. We say no bong shots, no YouTube bully-fests, nothing that some admissions officer or future employer could stumble across and interpret unflatteringly. And no sexting, please!

The Internet, as you might have heard, is everywhere and forever.

As if to prove it, a very smart New York congressman, one of the brainiest in all of Washington, may be suddenly flapping across Twitter and everywhere in all his boxer briefs glory, uncomfortably unable to explain how the image got there. Was it a malicious hacking? Was it an innocent mistake? Was it a prank gone wrong? Five days into this, Anthony Weiner still can't seem to decide, other than to deny sending the photo to a college student out West who follows him on Twitter.

His explanations hardly matter anymore. However it got there, there it is, everywhere and forever. Any parent of teenagers could have predicted this. Any teenager would have understood. Even smart adults do stupid things. There is no delete button out there.

The same social media that launched a presidential campaign can bring down a congressman or anyone. No matter who you are -- whether you are looking to become mayor or president, or just hoping for a spot in September's college class -- the Internet is everywhere.

The Internet is forever.

THANKS, ANTHONY

1. Arnold Schwarzenegger

2. Dominique Strauss-Kahn

3. John Edwards

4. John Ensign

5. Chris Lee

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: If all those basking sharks do is bask, how come Cupsogue Beach had to be closed after a couple of 18-footers were spotted offshore? . . . Is bullying really more common today in LI elementary schools than it used to be? Or is the topic just getting more study and discussion? It won't get less come September when a new anti-bullying program is launched at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Glen Cove . . . Does Locust Valley really need to increase property-tax collections by 5.8 percent to cover a 2.9-percent increase in school spending? That $73.9-million question probably won't be answered until June 21 . . . With Hamptons home prices falling 22 percent in just one year, the East End must be teeming with bargains, right? Well, do you consider 22 percent below the stratosphere a bargain? . . . "DEC Task Force Testing Unexplained Radioactive Groundwater Contamination Plume in Yaphank"? Can't say I fully understand that, but it doesn't sound like good news, does it? . . . Has Baldwin High's stuffed-bear mascot found his way home yet? Some pranksters swiped the beloved Bruin over Memorial Day, subbing a three-foot plastic skeleton in a tuxedo. Enjoy the prom, kids!

THE NEWS IN SONG: "I Wish I Were. . . " The classic Oscar Meyer and the story behind it: tinyurl.com/oscsong.

LONG ISLANDERS OF THE WEEK: COSTCO POWERBALL WINNERS

It's not the same as shrewd retirement planning. And this particular lightning may never strike again. But it was heartwarming nonetheless that Long Island's biggest Powerball winners ever turned out to be a hardworking crew from the Costco store on Route 110 in Melville. Who could deserve this more than they? The $201-million prize, even after taxes and the pay-now discount, is more than enough for all 20 of them to quit working immediately. But several reported to the store on Friday, just like they always have. Whatever suits them now. It's nice to have the choice at least.Email ellis@henican.com

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