Thursday, December 30

Around The World With Britt and Dave

Check out "Around the World in 366 Days," a QuickTime movie that shows highlights from Britt's and my trips in 2004. It will remain online at least through January.

Tuesday, December 28

Question Times Four

And now, without further ado, we present The Four Questions:

Q. What is Dave wearing?
A. Dave is dressed for bed, even though it is just 8:50 p.m.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?
A. Dave is a little bored and a little tired, so he decided to climb into bed early and watch "Return of the Jedi."

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?
A. Dave is a little puzzled by the question. He thinks you asked him about the tractors affecting his mood. Dave should probably have his hearing check.

Q. Why did Dave select "Return of the Jedi" to watch?
A. Dave loves Ewoks. He says they taste great with honey mustard dipping sauce.

Monday, December 27

De Vier Vragen

There's nothing better than sitting at home, eating dinner, watching "The Simpsons" and typing up another installment of The Four Questions!

Q. What is Dave wearing?
A. Dave's wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt from Provincetown.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?
A. Dave is relieved to be home from work.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?
A. Dave would love to answer this question, but he has been sworn to secrecy.

Q. What episode of the Simpsons is currently on TV?
A. Dave says it's the episode in which Homer goes into space. A classic!

Saturday, December 18

... But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

Here at the Daily Dave 2.0, where our motto is "We Don't Have A Motto, Because We Wouldn't Want To Adopt A Motto That Might Upset Our Corporate Masters," we would not be so bold as to venture an opinion about the following story: "Nearly half in U.S. say Muslim civil liberties should be restricted."

At Long Last, It's The Return Of The Four Questions

Q. What is Dave wearing?
A. Dave's wearing a pair of jeans and a black-and-white striped rugby shirt. He's also wearing a pair of gray socks he stole from Britt's sock drawer, because it's somewhat cold in Tampa today (in the 60s) and most of Dave's thick socks are white tube socks, which look ridiculous with anything except sneakers.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?
A. Dave's mood falls somewhere between "lazy Saturday" and "feel like taking a nap, so long as there's nothing good on TV."

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood?
A. The fact that it's Saturday afternoon is one of the driving factors behind Dave's current mood.

Q. Why doesn't Dave just wear sneakers so that he doesn't have to steal Britt's socks?
A. Dave says he's not in a sneaker-y mood today.

Special bonus fifth question:

Q. Shouldn't the first installment of The Four Questions in more than a year be a little bit more momentous?
A. Dave agrees that, yes, it probably should, but it's too late to do anything about it.

Monday, November 29

Novel Victory

I have completed my first novel: 50,070 words in 29 days. It's pure crap and I'm proud of myself for completing it.

Thursday, November 11

Novel Thoughts

The novel now stands at 11,759 words. I don't know how I'll make it to 50,000 words by the end of the month, but I'll keep plugging away.

I'd like to post an excerpt here, but any kind of opinion or bias is verboten at The Daily Dave 2.0, and I don't want to risk confusing my corporate masters with fiction. I can imagine the following conversation:

"Why did you say such-and-such on your blog?"

"I didn't say it. A character in a novel I'm writing said it."

"That's the same thing."

"No it's not."

"Yes it is."

"No it's not."

"It is if I say it is."

So, if you'd like to read an excerpt, send me an e-mail. The Daily Dave 2.0 will remain excerpt-free for now.

Wednesday, November 3


The novel now stands at 4,174 words. And, on a completely unrelated subject, Britt and I may move to New Zealand. Britt is checking out housing prices in Dunedin, one of the larger cities on the South Island and home to the University of Otago.

Tuesday, November 2

NaNoWriMo Update

Well, National Novel Writing Month is underway, and as of 9:20 this morning I have written 3,221 words.

The goal: 50,000 words by the end of November.

My novel is tentatively titled "Good Boy." Don't ask me for a plot summary or an excerpt because, at this point, my novel really embodies the NaNoWriMo philosophy of emphasizing quantity over quality.

Incidentally, the NaNoWriMo folks in Tampa have adopted a name: Velvet Botox. I'm not quite sure what botulism or fabric has to do with writing, but it's a kick-ass name nonetheless. There's even a logo:

Friday, October 29

731 Days And Counting

Britt and I are celebrating two years of non-legally recognized bliss today. Happy anniversary to us!

Monday, October 25

Lowry Park Zoo

New photos are online: A Day at the Zoo.

Sunday, October 24

Bumper Car

Are you still supposed to call them bumper stickers if they're stuck to other parts of the vehicle? Britt and I saw this van outside Panera Bread yesterday morning:

Monday, October 18


Crazy goal? Artificial deadline? Sounds like fun. I'm signing up for National Novel Writing Month.

Official NaNoWriMo 2004 Participant

Tuesday, October 5

Another Celeb Obit Haiku

Rodney Dangerfield:
Here's hoping you receive some
Respect in heaven.

Friday, September 24

Our New State Flag: The Blue Tarp

My mother forwards this timely message:

You might be a Floridian if:
-- You exhibit a slight twitch when introduced to anyone with the first names of Charley, Frances or Ivan
-- Your freezer never has more than $20 worth of food in it any given time
-- You're looking at paint swatches for the plywood on your windows, to accent the house color
-- You think of your hall closet/safe room as "cozy"
-- Your pool is more accurately described as "framed in" than "screened in"
-- Your freezer in the garage now only has homemade ice in it
-- You no longer worry about relatives visiting during the summer months
-- You, too, haven't heard back from the insurance adjuster
-- You now understand what that little "2% hurricane deductible" phrase really means
-- You're putting a collage together on your driveway of roof shingles from your neighborhood
-- You were once proud of your 16" electric chain saw
-- Your street has more than three "no wake" signs posted
-- You now own 5 large ice chests
-- Your parrot can now say "hammered," "pounded" and "hunker down"
-- You recognize people in line at the free ice, gas and plywood locations
-- You stop what you're doing and clap and wave when you see a convoy of power company trucks come down your street
-- You're depressed when they don't stop
-- You have the personal cell phone numbers of the managers for plywood, roofing supplies and generators at Home Depot on your speed dialer
-- You've spent more than $20 on tall white kitchen bags to make your own sand bags
-- You're considering upgrading your 16" chain saw to a 20" chainsaw
-- You know what "bar chain oil" is
-- You're thinking of getting your wife the hardhat with the ear protector and face shield for Christmas
-- You now think the $6,000 whole house generator seems reasonable
-- You look forward to discussions about the merits of cubed, block and dry ice
-- Your therapist refers to your condition as "generator envy"
-- You fight the urge to put on your winter coat and wool cap and parade around in front of your picture window, when you finally get power and your neighbor across the street, with the noisy generator, doesn't get electric

And, finally, you might be a Floridian if: 
-- You ask your sister up north to start saving the Sunday real estate classifieds!

Thursday, September 23

Welcome To The 30s

Happy 30th birthday to Sarah Knupke!

Wednesday, September 22

Clutter Be Gone!

Finally! Britt and I have eliminated enough clutter so that the guest room looks like a guest room:

And I have finally carved out a little clutter-free place for me to work. Look, ma, no wires!

Truth In Fiction

Sarah loaned me her copy of "Triggerfish Twist," Tim Dorsey's Carl Hiaasen-esqe novel about life in Tampa. I found the opening sentence in Chapter Five especially poignant:

"A light sprinkle fell on south Tampa the next afternoon, which meant all the streets flooded."

Sunday, September 19

Broad Shoulders And Golden Bridges

In case you haven't noticed yet, new photo galleries from Chicago and San Francisco are now online. Enjoy.

Seniors Rule!

Sorry to have been away from the blog for so long. A handful of hurricanes and escalating PHB tensions are rather distracting.

Here's a site you shouldn't miss: PlanetDan's Senior Photo Collection, Vol. 1. I only recall one kind of yearbook photo from wayyyy back in the Dark Ages when I was senior: the generic Bryn-Alan shot. I wish I could have posed shirtless on the train tracks, knee-deep in water, surrounded by stuffed animals and strumming my guitar.

Sunday, August 29

Montréal And Québec City Photos

Check out the newest photo gallery: Montréal And Québec City.

Monday, August 16

Je Me Souviens

Greetings from Québec City, one of those few places on this planet where the postcards don't lie. Everything here is spectacular: stunning views of the St. Lawrence River, the eclectic mix of shops lining the cobblestone streets, the little parks and statues waiting behind every corner. And, of course, there's me, huffing like an asthmatic Big Bad Wolf after trekking to the top of the Citadel. Britt said there were 310 steps, but I know he's lying: there were at least 31,000 by my count. If the climb were any higher, I'd need Tenzing Norgay and a lot of canisters of oxygen.

Tomorrow: back to the flatter terrain of Montréal, where I can reward myself for such an active day in Québec by grabbing fistfulls of Tim Hortons donuts and cramming them into my face.

Incidentally, the Tim Hortons donut chain has a product that's much like the Munchkins at Dunkin' Donuts. They are called Tim Bits. I find this name troubling on several levels.

Friday, August 13

Hindsight Is Always 20/20

Looking back at the title of this morning's Hurricane Charley post ("Not A Matter Of If, But When"), I guess should have known that with hurricanes, it is always a matter of if.

Another Dead Celebrity, Another Haiku

Poor Julia Child:
Unless she's going to hell,
She'll have no more roasts.

I have nothing against Julia Child, of course. I just like the whole roast/hell thing in this haiku. Quite frankly, I'm more familiar with Dan Ackroyd's classic SNL impression of Julia Child than I am of Child herself.

It's Not Raining, It's Not Pouring

Here's the message I typed up this evening for out-of-town friends and family:

To: A Whole Bunch of People
From: Dave
Subject: We Were Prepared ... But Spared

Hello all!

Britt and I are high and somewhat dry. Hurricane Charley decided to take a detour at the last minute, coming ashore near Port Charlotte. As I write this, Charley is rushing across the state toward Orlando. It's never good news when a hurricane hits, but Britt and I feel really lucky that we were spared the brunt of the storm.

The day began with an eerie calm, and the sky was steel gray. It was quiet and surreal, and everyone could sense something sinister in the air. One of my coworkers (who comes from Utah) turned to me around noon and said, "I will never look at the phrase 'the calm before the storm' the same way again."

We got some moderate rain today, and practically no wind. Britt, who didn't have to report to work of course, said the electricity never went out at home. I got back from work around 7 o'clock, mentally exhausted and unable to consume one more iota of hurricane-related news.

Tonight we are safe and sound and we'll be sleeping in our own bed! Now, let's hope that Lee and Michon (my brother and sister-in-law, for those of you who don't know) don't get doused too badly tonight: Charley's expected to sweep through Jacksonville after it gets through Orlando.

Thanks for thinking of us.


Not A Matter Of If, But When

It is, literally, the calm before the storm. Britt and I left the house at nine in search of a hot meal. We checked drove to restaurants, all closed, before finding a Burger King on South Dale Mabry Highway that had a line of people waiting for their food but just three people working in the kitchen. I waited 20 minutes for those Cini-Minis and, boy, were they delicious.

Outside it is cool and comfortable, with no wind and much less humidity than normal. It is a sinister calm: one that we can't enjoy.

I head to work sometime around noon, and I will probably be there until noon on Saturday. Britt is staying home to hold down the fort. The house isn't in an evacuation zone, and despite the massive storm surge Charley is expected to bring, we probably won't see any flooding in our neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 11

Football For Everyone!

Gay men and sports: it's catching on! Britt and I have always been trendsetters.

Tuesday, August 10

Raising 'Cane

Dave Barry has written the only hurricane preparation guide you'll ever need. (It's an old Barry column, but still a good one.)

Monday, August 9

My Worst Fears, Realized

I've joked about it for years, and now it's coming true. Nooooooo!

Today's Celebrity Obituary Haiku

Film legend Fay Wray:
Once manhandled by King Kong,
Now she's in death's clutch.

Friday, August 6

It's A Very Freaky Obit

Rick James' death has spurred a flurry of haiku:

Mrs. Varga (aka Said Sarah) wrote the first one:
Rick James was a freak
Farewell big pompadour hair
Say "hi" to Weezie.

My response:
Very freaky corpse --
Don't bring him home to mutha.
RIP Rick James

The complementary spouse wrote:
When did Rick James die?
I never heard anything
No more Super Freak?

And Jeff Houck (of Side Salad fame) penned these three gems:
At the pearly gates,
St. Peter tells Rick James he's
"Super freak-ay, yow."

In heaven, Rick James learns
Angelic bitches like to
Party all the time.

In Rick James' heaven
There's incense, wine and candles:
Such a freaky scene!

Sunday, August 1

Out Of The Mouth Of Dave's

Here are some of the things that I said this weekend in Boston when, it seems, my brain wasn't working:

-- "Anorexia is just another word for hot."
-- "We are much closer to where we are than I thought we are."

Wednesday, July 28


I wonder which Simpsons character is coming out of the closet. Smithers would be the obvious choice, but what about Principal Skinner (who still lives at home with his mother) or Troy McClure (whose loveless marriage to Aunt Selma helped revive his acting career)?

Monday, July 19

Friday, July 16

Run For Office

Another two-dimensional candidate announces he's running for office.


My search for a new computer bag is over.

Wednesday, July 14

July 14 Haiku

Marie Antoinette
Would have us eat cake, that bitch!
Happy Bastille Day

Tuesday, July 13

Jeffersons Haiku

Isabel Sanford
Is truly movin" on up.
RIP, Weezie.

Thursday, July 8

No Surprises Here

Here are the results from the "Which Family Guy Character Are You" Quiz:

Which Family Guy character are you?


You are a strong black woman who has a very easy time controlling your man. You usually hurt your husband while having sex with him.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

Thursday, July 1

Dressed To The Nines

Daal dressed up for my birthday:

Isn't he cute in his party hat and bow tie?


Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday, dear Dayyyy-vidddddd,
Happy birthday to me.

I'm not the only person expecting cake today. According to the folks at Yahoo!:
-- Liv Tyler is 27.
-- Missy Elliott is 33.
-- Pam Anderson is 37.
-- Alan Ruck is 48.
-- Dan Aykroyd is 52.
-- Fred Schneider is 53 (Tin roof rusted).
-- Deborah Harry is 59.
-- Twyla Tharp is 63.

If I could get all these folks together, we would have one bitchin' party!

Wednesday, June 30

The Cup? Yup! Shut Up!

The Stanley Cup made a brief appearance at my office today:

Daal tops the cup

Britt and Dave cop a cup feel

Sarah Knupke? No, Sarah Cup-ke!

Daal checks out the winners

Start Spreading The News!

Britt and I spent four days in New York for work (the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association convention) and play (carousing around Manhattan, hiking across the Brooklyn Bridge, and checking out the Pride '04 festivities). Check out the photo gallery.

Sunday, June 27

Now Go Away, Before I Taunt You A Second Time

According to the "What Monty Python Holy Grail Quest Character Are You" quiz, I most resemble the French Taunter.

French Guard
You are the French Guard.

Before I launch a cow at you, you might want to take the quiz yourself

Saturday, June 26

I Want To Wake Up In A City That Never Sleeps

Greetings from New York, home of this year's National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association convention. Britt and I are having a good time here, attending the myriad programs and exploring the city.

I have taken the A train for the first time in my life. Duke Ellington would be proud.

Tuesday, June 22

Quote Of The Day

"The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." -- Philosopher Bertrand Russell

A Fine Romance

I was afraid something like this would happen.

Saturday, June 19

Bizarro World

Somewhere, in an alternate universe, Madonna is the assistant manager at a Starbucks in West Hollywood, Calif., while Martika has just announced she is changing her name to Esther.

Baby Elephant Walk

Daal has found a new site that he loves. Britt and I now need earplugs and Advil.

Friday, June 18


Madonna tells ABC News that she would now like to be called Esther.

I am considering seriously changing my name to Hershel. My decision might seem rash and premature, but if everyone else is going to adopt an old Jewish person's name, then I want to stake my claim early before all the good ones are gone. Mordechai also has a nice ring to it.

Thursday, June 17

It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be Here Overnight (I Hope)

Could my brand-spankin'-new iBook arrive at my doorstep tomorrow morning? Perhaps! According to the FedEx Web site, the package arrived in Orlando a little after 7 p.m. tonight; it is presumably on its way to Tampa right now.

My fingers are crossed.

The new iBook is already a world traveler, having gone from a factory in Tao Yuan, Taiwan; to the Taiwanese capital of Taipei; to Anchorage; then to Indiapolis; on to Memphis; and just recently to Orlando.

The new iBook is a gift to myself for my 32nd birthday, which approaches much too rapidly for comfort.

Friday, June 11

We're Like Charlie's Angels, Except Totally Different

What do you get when you put together Dave and two of his favorite coworkers (one of whom has since moved on to a high-profile career in the world of public relations), a piece of delicious Publix cake, a velvet Elvis painting, and a tiara?


That's Cherie on the left, Sarah on the right, and the ink-stained wretch who writes this blog in the middle. Sarah found this picture stashed away at the very bottom of her digital camera's memory card.

Wednesday, June 9

Struck By Lightning

I haven't written anything about the Lightning victory because I'm still in shock (no pun intended). Needless to say, this is a great time for we humble citizens and denizens of the Tampa Bay area. And not too great a time for those folks in Calgary.

Oh, and just a brief word to Jerome Iginla: when blood is spouting from a player's face, he's probably not faking the injury. Okay, Jer? You should just shut up the next time one of your bloodthirsty brutish teammates gets sent to the penalty box. Your little conniptions won't win your team any points, but they might just earn you the title of Drama Queen.

Too Much Time On His Hands ... Er, Paws

Watson, the furry feline brother that I named "America's Favorite Housecat" several years ago, has started his own blog. Insert your own joke here re: the cat using the mouse instead of trying to eat it.

It wasn't long ago that I was on top of the blog world. Today, I'm being outblogged by my parents' cat. I'm the Kevin Costner of the blogosphere.

Tuesday, June 8

Blowing It

You know your allergies are bad when you blow your nose and people in the next room think they've heard a circular saw.

Saturday, June 5

The Day After Tomorrow, And Ronald Reagan

Britt and I just saw "The Day After Tomorrow," and I would like to say a little something about the film's scientific and political premises, but I will not because The Daily Dave 2.0 doesn't state opinions for fear of upsetting my corporate masters.

(The Daily Dave 2.0's motto: "Neutered and improved." Well, not really improved: just neutered.)

Here's what I can tell you about "The Day After Tomorrow": It's a pretty darn good sci-fi/disaster movie. Compared to "Independence Day," which was directed by the same person, "The Day After Tomorrow" seems a more focused and urgent film: it relies less on stock characters and stereotypes (such as "ID"'s stripper with a heart of gold, menschy Jewish dad, and snivelling political henchmen), and the outcomes were less formulaic and predictable. Overall, it was worth the $15 or so we paid for tickets.

Of course, now "The Day After Tomorrow" will always be inextricably linked in my mind with Ronald Reagan's death. The ex-president must have passed away while Britt and I were in the theater; we didn't hear the news until we got home. Once again, here on The Daily Dave 2.0, there will be no editorializing about Reagan or his policies, good or bad.

My family lived overseas when Reagan was president. To me, a kid in Europe, Reagan seemed more like an icon than a president: he was the leader of the place I called home but that wasn't really home. Home is where your parents and brothers lived, and where you went to school and synagogue, and where you played with the dogs in the back yard. We expats were like athletes who decide to sit out the season, and Reagan was like the coach that we still had to pay attention to.

Right Said Bread

This is what happens when you have too much time, and too much bread, on your hands in a restaurant:

Damn, I Wish She Were My Lover

Sophie B. Hawkins was in The News Center yesterday:

Thursday, June 3

I Can't Watch

It's ten minutes into overtime. The score is tied 2-2. My stomach is in knots. Go Lightning!

San Francisco Snapshots

Here are a few pictures that didn't make it into the San Francisco photo gallery:

Baby elephants love scenic vistas!

Guava taffy: A little taste of Tampa in San Francisco.

An elephant seal pup recuperates at the Marine Mammal Center hospital in the Marin Headlands.

Daal takes in the view from the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Some photos that I didn't take:
-- A picture of the crazy guy on the Muni tram who was wearing a dress and shouting names of desserts at people
-- A picture of the crazy guy in Mill Valley who disassembled the trash can outside of Peet's Coffee looking for something he apparently could not find
-- A picture of another crazy guy on the Muni tram who made the shape of a handgun with his fingers, and pantomimed shooting other passengers as they left the tram

I have enough pictures of myself. I don't need to weigh down my photo album with pictures of other crazy people.

Wednesday, June 2

Golden Gate getaway

Britt and I spent our Memorial Day weekend in San Francisco, and I fell in love with my favorite city all over again. I don't just love San Francisco: I adore it, in the same obsessive way that a teenage girl idolizes a pop star, except that my crush only gets stronger as I grow older. Leaving San Francisco is always so painful; I fantasize about going there one day and never coming back. I am envious of Craig Souza, my childhood pal from London who now calls San Francisco home.

Check out my San Francisco photo gallery.

Saturday, May 29

Greetings From San Francisco

Or, to be more precise: Greetings from the massive, temple-like Apple Store near Union Square in San Francisco. Britt and I (and the baby elephant, of course) arrived last night at around 3:30 a.m. Tampa time, which is just half past midnight out here on the West Coast. We're now checking our e-mail and checking out the latest Apple gear before meeting Britt's pal Steve for lunch. Later today, we're hooking up with Craig, my friend from grade school in London.

While you're online, why not check out my lastest masterpiece: "An Economic Force."

Wednesday, May 26

... That's Why I Hang My Hat In Tennessee

Minnie Pearl look-a-likes! Giant talking pigs! Irregular peaches! Check out the brand-spanking-new Nashville photo gallery.

Saturday, May 15

Daal's Pop Is Back

Greetings, all. Daal has a lot of exciting activities planned for the summer, so he asked me to take over the Daily Dave again. He did a very good job during my blogging hiatus, didn't he? He's such a bright elephant calf -- his dad and I are very proud of him.

I'm fiddling with the design once again. Click the comment link to tell me what you think.

Friday, May 7

my first year of school is over. i got my first-ever report card! here's what it says:

Mitchell Elephant Elementary School
Tampa, Florida
Report Card

Student name: Daal Simanoff-Shirley
Term: 2003-2004 school year

Course ... Grade
English ... A+
Spanish ... A+
History ... A+
Math ... A+
Music ... A+
Art ... A+
Gymnastics ... A+

Daal is very advanced for his age. He has shown an aptitude for English and math, and loves art, music and gymnastics classes. Daal is a good student because his parents encourage him.

Daal can get a little sassy at times, but he is usually well behaved and very attentive in class.

Next year, we’ll work on Daal’s spelling skills -- he often misspells names of cities -- and tackle some more advanced gymnastic techniques.

dad and pop are so proud of me! we had collard greens and peanuts for dinner to celebrate.

Tuesday, April 20

today was art class in elephant school. here's the picture i made for daddy on the compooter:

i will make a picture for pop next week in art class.

the baby elephant

Monday, April 19

my pop seems rather depressed today. he came home early today, complaining about pain in his mouth. i asked him if he had a toothache, but he said that he had been to the dentist this morning, and had a lot of work done there, which is why his mouth hurt.

"don't worry, daal," he said, gobbling down a handful of ibuprofen tablets. "it doesn't hurt too bad, and i'll be all better soon."

"then why are you so sad today?" i asked.

"i need a new bridge," he said. "it's going to cost a lot of money."

pop wasn't making any sense. he doesn't need a bridge. he and dad know that there are already lots of bridges near us: the frank & lynn bridge, the campbell soup causeway, the gandhi bridge. i think pop needs elephant kisses, not to spend money on a bridge.

the baby elephant

Sunday, April 18

pop told me yesterday that he's keeping notes about all our adventures so that he can write a book one day.

"it would be so much fun to write -- and so much fun for people to read," pop said, using his most excited tone of voice. "plus, i think a lot of people can learn a lot of important lessons from a story about a baby elephant and his two daddies."

dad agreed, and mumbled something about bushes under his breath.

i was very excited about pop's book idea yesterday, but today we took a trip to the bookstore, and now i'm a little worried. what if pop decides to write about everything i do? i hope pop doesn't get any ideas from some of the books we saw today.

Sunday, April 11

we are back from jacksonville! my pop and dad said the wedding last night was wonderful, and the brunch this morning was also very nice.

i'll have to take their word for it. i stayed in the car for all the festivities. a wedding and a brunch is no place for a baby elephant, or so i'm told.

we stopped for lunch at walt disney world. it was fun! i saw other elephants there.

the baby elephant

Saturday, April 10

hello from jacksonville beach!

dad, pop and i drove here thursday night because my uncle lee is getting married this weekend. pop and dad rushed home from work, threw a whole bunch of clothes into their suitcases, packed everything in the back of dad's car, and then we were off! during the whole trip, dad and pop kept remembering things they forgot to bring.

"razor," my pop said.

"deodorant," my dad said.

that's when i realized that i left my backpack at home! my pop bought me a little blue backpack before we went to hamsterdam. in it, i have a little bag of peanuts (for emergency snacks), two quarters in case i need to call someone, and four drink tickets from the united red carpet lounge at o'hair airport in chicago.

i don't know how the drink tickets got there. i think my dad stuffed them in my backpack when i wasn't looking.

i was very upset about leaving my backpack behind. my pop made me feel better, though.

"it's ok, daal," he said. "we all forgot things. we'll get more peanuts for you when we get to jacksonville beach."

yesterday night, dad and pop went to a big rehearsal dinner. i stayed in the hotel room. i told my pop and my dad that i was too tired to go, but, actually, i wanted to stay behind because everywhere i go, people always make a fuss about me being such a cute baby elephant, and i didn't want to steal any attention from uncle lee and soon-to-be-aunt michon.

this morning, i told dad and pop the real reason why i stayed in the hotel room.

"you're a very selfless baby elephant calf," dad said, "but you're also part of our family, and we love you and we're proud of you. you shouldn't have to feel like you have to stay behind, ever."

yesterday, grandma bought me a little present: a little stuffed blue elephant. it's just a toy, not a real elephant like me. i played with it yesterday.

last night, when pop and dad got back from the rehearsal dinner, i heard them talking about antelopes.

"are we getting a pet antelope?" i asked.

dad laughed, and pop explained that they were talking about eloping -- running off to get married, without any fuss or big parties.

pop must have seen me frown, because he then said quickly, "of course, you would come with us. we couldn't get married without our baby elephant there!"

i asked pop when he and dad would elope, and he said he didn't know. he said that in lots of places, he and dad couldn't get married.

"why not?" i asked.

"well, because some people think that only men and women should be allowed to get married," pop said. "but a few cities and states have realized that the current laws are discriminatory, and those places are starting to allow two men or two women to get married. so we'd have to go to one of those places."

i thought that it's silly that some places won't let my two fathers marry.

"pop, why won't some places let you and dad get married?" i asked.

"well, there are lots of reasons," my dad started to explain, then he thought about his answer a little bit.

"i guess it's because some people don't like things to change," he said finally. "they think that the way things have always been in the past are the way things should always be, even if those things aren't fair for everyone."

"that's silly," i said. "you love dad. you should be allowed to get married, just like uncle lee and michon, and grandma and grandpa, and cousin rich and april, and cousin phil and kirsten, and cousin randi and eric."

"that's what we think too," pop said, looking at dad. "i love your dad very much."

dad then came over and gave pop a big hug.

"hey!" i shouted. "what about me?"

pop and dad then lifted me up and hugged me too.

i think i have the best family in the world!

love from jacksonville beach,
the baby elephant

Monday, April 5

tonight is my first passover!

i knew tonight was a very special night because my dad got home early and set the kitchen table. then my pop called a few times and said he'd be late. he finally got home around 7 p.m., complaining about something or other, but as soon and he and dad started preparing dinner in the kitchen he was his old pop-like self.

pop and dad actually started cooking yesterday. they made a brisket, which i think is gross because i'm an elephant, and all elephants are vegetarians. actually, the brisket smelled very good -- pop found a moroccan recipe in his jewish cookbook that uses lots of tomatoes, onions, olives and some ginger.

pop put a lot of different things, including a bone, an egg and some veggies, on a special plate that he called a cedar plate.

"a cedar plate?" i asked. "like the tree?"

"no," pop said. "it's a seder plate -- s-e-d-e-r. it's for our special dinner tonight."

pop put the seder plate in the middle of the kitchen table, and he and dad put all sorts of other things on the table as well: some salt water, an extra wine glass, and a plate with flat bread called matzoh. pop put a napkin over the matzoh plate. everything seemed to have its own special place on the table.

finally, at 8 o'clock, with the brisket heating in the oven, dad and pop and i sat down at the kitchen table. pop gave us each a backwards book called a haggadah -- i say it's backwards because the pages go from right to left, instead of left to right. you start reading on the back page and go to the front.

"in hebrew, you read from right to left," my pop explained. "that's why books in hebrew go the other directions than books in english."

pop and dad and i took turns reading from our haggadahs, which told the stories about how the jews left egypt a long time ago. we also read about all the different things on the seder plate, and what they mean -- the mixture of nuts and apple was tasty, but it represented the mortar the jews had to use to build pyramids for the egyptians. the bitter herbs didn't taste good.

at one point, i got to read a whole section of the haggadah myself. it was the part called the four questions. later, my pop broke the middle matzoh in half and took away the larger part. he said it was the kofi annan -- or was that afikomen? -- and that he would hide it and i would have to look for it later.

about halfway through the haggadah, we put away our books and ate our yummy dinners. i didn't have any of the ge-filter fish. i didn't have any brisket, either. dad made me my own plate with matzoh, collards, apples and carrots.

after dinner, dad and pop asked me where the kofi annan was. i had totally forgotten about it! i searched all over the kitchen, but couldn't find it. then i looked in the living room. i saw something flat and rectangular, wrapped in a napkin, on top of the teevee. it was the kofi annan!

after dinner, we picked up the haggadahs and started reading again. we opened the door, so that anyone who wanted to could join us, but we didn't open it too much, because there are some stray cats in our neighborhood and my dad didn't want them to come in.

my pop did most of the reading ... or, should i say, skimming. i asked my pop why he was going so fast.

"you see, daal, speeding through the second part of the seder is a long and glorious simanoff tradition," he said.

at the end of dinner, pop pointed out that we had been visited during the seder by elijah, a prophet.

"uh-uh" i said.

pop pointed to the extra wine glass on the table. there's less wine in it now than when we started, he said. i didn't watch the glass during dinner, but it did look less full.

next year i'm going to measure the wine in the glass!

the baby elephant

Friday, April 2

my pop hurt his knee. he banged it against a file cabinet at work. he took some advil, but i think elephant kisses are the best medicine.

the baby elephant

Thursday, April 1

my pop just finished reading "prey," a book by michael crichton. i asked pop what the book is about, and he started talking about all these things i didn't understand, like nana-technology. when pop saw that i was confused, he told me that the book is about little robots that are so small they look like dust -- and that these little tiny dust robots can work together, like a swarm of bees, and kill animals and people.

now i am very scared, because dad and pop are very messy and there is a lot of dust in our house. what if it's killer dust, and it thinks a baby elephant would be an easy target?

i will ask dad and pop to buy me a little dustbuster that i can take everywhere. just in case.

the baby elephant

Wednesday, March 31

the south beech diet is making my pop insane! yesterday, when he got home from work, he told me and dad that he had met a seven-foot-tall man made out of string cheese.

how crazy is that?

the baby elephant

Monday, March 29

i am getting kind of worried about pop. last night, i heard him talking in his sleep. "mmm, elephants," he said. "low in carbohydrates."

i hope he doesn't mean me. perhaps he's talking about the elephant cookies you find in boxes of animal crackers.

the baby elephant

Sunday, March 28

well, it's about time! pop finally posted pictures from our hamsterdam trip online. you can see them here.

check out all the pictures of me!

the baby elephant

my dad and my pop took me to the movies to see the lady killers. it was very weird, because the main guy looked like kernal sanders but he never ate any fried chicken. and there were lots of bad words -- pop and dad had to cover my ears a lot.

after the movie was over, pop tried to steal a box of snocaps from some old lady in the lobby, but dad tackled him when he figured out what pop was trying to do. then pop tried to eat some popcorn that had fallen on the carpet. once again, dad stopped it from happening. finally, pop just curled into a little ball and started to cry. it was very embarrassing. i hope no one from elephant school saw it happen.

the baby elephant

my uncle watson thinks it's silly for an animal to write things on a web site. that's an odd thing for him to say, because he is a CAT.

the baby elephant

my dad and my pop have started a new diet called the south beech diet. it is funny to watch them talk about what they can't eat. i think pop almost cried yesterday because he wanted a cookie.

dad is doing good on the diet because he likes a lot of the food on it. pop is not doing so good, because he doesn't like broccoli and cauley-flowers.

as for me, the south beech diet is okay. i get all of the collard greens and peanuts and pistachios i want -- yum! and next week, dad has promised me lots of apples and carrots -- yay!

i have to go now. pop just discovered an old pint of ben and jerry's ice cream in the freezer and dad is trying to pry it out of pop's hands. pop has a crazed look in his eyes. i hope things don't turn violent.

the baby elephant

Saturday, March 27

i think my pop has just given up on this webbsite. that's sad, because he really used to enjoy righting things here. now he says it's just not fun anymore.

poor pop!

i think it would be lots of fun to have my own webbsite, so i'm going to start righting things here. i haven't asked my pop for permission yet, but i don't think he will mind.

the baby elephant

Tuesday, February 24

Please make sure you've got or bookmarked. I'm about to cancel my Bright House/Road Runner account.

Monday, February 23

My beloved iBook is back from the shop, at last. Let the blogging begin again!

Thursday, February 5

Only in Ohio would you find people putting toupees on cows:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Three livestock exhibitors at last year's Ohio State Fair have been disqualified for allegedly outfitting their Holstein cows with hairpieces.

State Fair inspectors said the three glued or painted hair from another part of the animal or from another animal to create straighter backs on the cows and enhance their appearance in the show ring. (link)

What's next -- cow combovers? Cow pattern baldness? Perhaps this is why the cows have become so mad that they've developed their own disease.

Tuesday, February 3

CAMERAPHONE SNAPSHOT: Daal the baby elephant joined Britt and I for dinner at the local Vietnamese restaurant. He had a hard time operating the chopsticks with his trunk, but he really liked the pho and spring rolls.

Daal takes a sip of water while waiting for the main course.

One of these days, I hope to have visited all 50 states. As you can see from this map, I still have much more traveling to do:

The green states are the ones I haven't been to yet. Can you believe that I have never been to Delaware or West Virginia? The horror!

This next map proves that I am still several continents shy of truly being able to call myself a world traveler:

Once again, green indicates the countries that have not yet experienced the pleasure of Skippyness. This map shows that the only place I've visited outside of North America and Europe is Israel. I once stood 10 feet away from the Lebanese border, but I don't think that counts.

Like the maps? Visit to create your own visited states map or visited countries map. Thanks to Sarah Knupke and Jeff Houck for pointing out the site to me.

Monday, February 2

After seeing Janet Janet's wardrobe malfunction at yesterday's Super Bowl, I think I should start wearing pasties to work in case my shirt suddenly pops open in the middle of a MoneySense segment.

Sunday, February 1

Complementary spouse Britt Shirley and I just got back from seeing Margaret Cho at the Tampa Improv. I laughed so hard that my face now hurts.

Click here to read what I wrote last year after seeing Maragaret in Orlando.

The assorted animals that contribute comments to the Daily Dave seem more nonsensical than usual these days. I can only assume that pet food manufactuers have started lacing their products with hashish. It's just a working theory, really, at this point. We won't know what's actually happening until we start issuing subpoenas to the folks at Iams and Science Diet.

Saturday, January 31

Since my iBook is in the hospital, it will be a few days until I can post a full NYC photo gallery. In the meantime, here are just two pictures from the weekend:

Dave and Pauly, together again

Daal, the baby elephant, hitches a ride in Britt's backpack

More to come!

Thursday, January 29

It appears I'm not the only person with iBook issues these days (link).

Wednesday, January 28

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." -- Herm Albright. Thanks to Miss Cherizon for forwarding this quote to me.

Noooo! The iBook is now in the shop. Diagnosis: uncertain.

Sunday, January 25

Complementary spouse Britt Shirley and I returned from New York OK -- no permanent damage from frostbite or anything like that -- but my beloved iBook may have made its last trip. It started acting weird on the airplane, and I can't figure out exactly what the problem is.

To all of the Windows users out there who are gloating at this news, let me just say this: I've had my iBook for about a year and a half now, and this is the first time it's given me a headache. Keep that in mind the next time you're staring at a blue screen of death.

I'll post the New York photos online once I've got the iBook up and running again.

Pauly McGuire writes about our lunch -- and mocks my scarf-tying abilities -- on his blog here. Check it out.

Thanks for introducing Britt and me to the Cedar Tavern, and for showing us some of the sights around town, Pauly. When you finally get back to Florida, we'll return the favor with a tour of the Tampa Bay area, and some some arroz con pollo and cafe con leche at La Teresita!

I love New York. Here are a handful of observations:

  • The only good thing about the freezing weather here is that I get to use one of my favorite archaic sayings: It's cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.
  • Yes, it's an actual saying.
  • The Metropolitan Transit Authority here issues iPods to all Subway riders. Well, maybe not, but complementary spouse Britt Shirley and I have noticed a lot of passengers with those telltale white earphone cords coming out of their ears.
  • I absolutely hate scarves. I have bought two of the damn things so far, and neither seems to work. The first was too short; it kept coming loose and flapping in the wind. The new one is long enough to wrap around my neck at least twice, but it's itchy and still seems to come loose. I've noticed that every New Yorker seems to have his or her own technique for tying a scarf so that it stays put. As a Floridian, I just have no experience, I guess.
  • Free Wi-Fi Internet access for Verizon DSL customers! Britt and I are ecstatic.
  • It is sooooo cooooooooooooold.
  • It's so cold, in fact, that the O key on my computer seems to be sticking.
  • Ground Zero had a strong effect on me -- but not in the way I though it would. I'll explain in a later post.
  • Another subject for a later post: The play "Anna In The Tropics" was very good, and it featured Britt's old office building. Seriously.
  • How cold is it, really? It's so cold that Han Solo had to cut open his tauntaun (link) and stuff us inside to keep us warm.
That's all from NY for now. It's been a great trip so far, but I'll be happy when Britt and I are safely home and have stashed our jackets back in the closet."

Saturday, January 24

HOPKINS 316 REUNION: Thirteen and a half years after our first meeting, Pauly McGuire and I sat down for lunch today to catch up on old times. Pauly was my freshman roommate at Emory University, and out of all the odd couples on the third floor of Hopkins Hall, we were one of the oddest -- a whirlwind from New York, and a wisecracking world traveler who tried to conceal his naivety with smugness.

Our relationship in college wasn't pretty, but it has since blossomed through a million e-mail messages and a thousand blog postings into a wonderful friendship that I value greatly. Pauly inspires me in many ways, and that's why it was so exciting to see him again after all these years -- and to introduce him to complementary spouse Britt Shirley.

To Pauly: Thirteen and a half years from now, I hope we're still sharing stories from our lives -- and meeting up for lunch whenever we can. And thanks for showing me how to tie my scarf the New York way. I no longer need to worry about frostbite.

Here's my story in today's Tribune: "Commercial Real Estate Gains Ground."

Sooooo coooooooooold. According to the TV, it's currently 15 degrees outside but it feels like 2 degrees.

Friday, January 23

Greetings from somewhere over the Eastern seaboard. After a hectic day of car issues and airline problems, Britt and I are finally bound to New York for a little fun -- and, most likely, a little frostbite too. Meteorologists say the high temperature in New York this weekend will be precisely 500 degrees below zero. Or 520 degrees below zero if you factor in the wind chill factor, whatever that is.

A day or two of cold weather doesn't scare me; it will only make me appreciate Tampa more.

I could write more, but I won't. Here at the Daily Dave 2.0, we don't take a stance on anything -- even the weather.

Thursday, January 22

At long last, I know what my name would be if I were a cyborg! It is:

And Britt's name:

Go to to ascertain your own cybernetic identity.

Wednesday, January 21

The PHB Advisory System has been reactivated. It's at Condition Big Brother Blue. You have been warned.

Tuesday, January 20

So many reasons to yell at the TV tonight, so little time.

Please note that I did not say why Britt and I are yelling at the TV. Perhaps we're watching the State of the Union Address. Perhaps we're watching hockey. Perhaps we're watching reruns of Whoopi on TiVo. Maybe we just yell at everything.

As long as no one knows what we're watching or why we're yelling, then no one can claim I'm showing any sort of opinion. Welcome to the Daily Dave 2.0, where our motto is "we don't have a motto because we don't want to show a pro-motto bias."

Monday, January 19

I had a rather nasty headache today, but it's gone now. It never grew into a full blown migraine, but it put me out of commission for most of the day.

Perhaps I've developed an allergy to Britt. He returned home from Singapore last night, and I wake up with shooting pains in the back of my head. Coincidence? Well, yeah, it probably is just a coincidence.

Britt had a wonderful time in Singapore, and he brought home lots of little souvenirs for me -- playing cards, lucky cats, two copies of The Straits Times. The goodies are nice, but having Britt home is the best gift of all.

QUOTES FOR THE DAY: Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Dr. King may be dead, but his message is just as important as ever.

"Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him."

"I said to my children, 'I'm going to work and do everything that I can do to see that you get a good education. I don't ever want you to forget that there are millions of God's children who will not and cannot get a good education, and I don't want you feeling that you are better than they are. For you will never be what you ought to be until they are what they ought to be.'" -- Jan. 7, 1968

"I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law." -- "Letter From Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963    

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." -- "The Trumpet of Conscience", 1967    

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools." -- "Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution," March 31, 1968

"Whatever career you may choose for yourself -- doctor, lawyer, teacher -- let me propose an avocation to be pursued along with it. Become a dedicated fighter for civil rights. Make it a central part of your life. It will make you a better doctor, a better lawyer, a better teacher. It will enrich your spirit as nothing else possibly can. It will give you that rare sense of nobility that can only spring from love and selflessly helping your fellow man . Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for human rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in." -- April 18, 1959

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided man." -- "Strength to Love", 1963    

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom." -- "The Trumpet of Conscience", 1967    

"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree."   

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." -- "Letter From Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963 

"I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live." -- June 23, 1963   
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality ... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." -- Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, Dec. 10, 1964

"If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos." -- "Justice Without Violence", April 3, 1957

"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important." -- Wall Street Journal article, Nov. 13, 1962

"Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness." -- "Strength to Love", 1963    

"Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think." -- "Strength to Love", 1963    

"The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But ... the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'" -- "I've Been to the Mountain Top," April 3, 1968

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." -- "Strength to Love", 1963

"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood." -- "Strength to Love", 1963    

"The time is always right to do what is right." -- "Letter From Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963

Credit for compiling these quotes goes to People For The American Way.

Ugh. Headache. Not quite a migraine yet, but it's getting there.

Saturday, January 17

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I've had some long days at work, plus a hockey game Thursday night and a sleep apnea test Friday night. I'll post some updates this weekend.

Wednesday, January 14

Complementary spouse Britt Shirley and I just had a nice long chat -- which is impressive, when you consider that Britt is in Singapore, I'm 13 time zones away here in Tampa, and neither of us used a telephone. We were able to speak through iChat, Apple's incredible video conferencing and instant messenger program. Britt sounded like he was in the room with me, not half a world away. And neither of us had to do anything to configure our computers -- it merely took one click for me to start the voice chat on my end, and one more for Britt to start it on his end.

I was wowed by the sound quality: much better than a regular domestic phone call, and light years ahead than an ordinary international call.

It was so good to hear Britt's voice -- to listen to him describe the city, his hotel room, what he's done today and what he is planning to do. He has only been gone two days, but I miss him very much and I can't wait for him to return home.

It is experiences like this that make me proud to own a Macintosh.

Tuesday, January 13

Today was National Bring Your Baby Elephant To Work Day, so I brought Daal, the baby elephant Britt and I adopted in September, into the office. His name is Daal, and Britt and I rescued him the American Airlines terminal in Dallas, as we were changing planes on a return flight from Denver to Tampa.

Daal is an Indian elephant calf, and his favorite foods are collard greens and peanuts. He attends Mitchell Elephant Elementary School in Tampa, and would like to be a gymnast when he grows up, or maybe a veterinarian. He still hasn't decided.

Daal says he is the happiest little baby elephant with two daddies in the whole entire world.

(Go on. You can say it: Britt and I are soooooooo gay.)

Here are the photos:

Daal looks over one of my stories. He says his pop should use spell-check more frequently.

Daal checks out the latest financial headlines on the Bloomberg box.

Daal takes an afternoon nap in my desk drawer. He likes to listen to my iPod as he's falling asleep.

America's Favorite Housecat Watson Simanoff needs your help! He writes:

To all those who read the Daily Dave:

I was involved in a horrible accident that involved blood. Somehow a man's hand ended up in my mouth as I was gently closing it.

In fear of being sued or going to jail I am in now need of raising money for my defense fund.

Any additional cans of tuna that you have around your home can be sent to me for my personal friend and lawyer Johnny Catchrin. He will also be defending another friend, Manticore (link). He is innocent just like me.

Please if you have only one charity this year make it me!!!!!!! Keep me free ... Attica, Attica, Attica!!!

I wonder if he should actually be chanting, "Cattica! Cattica! Cattica!"

Monday, January 12

When Miss Cherizon has her own corporate empire (to be named Planet Cherie Inc.), she promises to hire me. Here's what my business card will say:

David Simanoff
Vice President for Haiku
And Other Fun Things

Sunday, January 11

Sorry about the lack of posts yesterday and today. Complementary spouse Britt Shirley and I made a quick mileage run to Los Angeles -- that means, basically, we flew to the other side of the country and back in order to pad our frequent flyer mileage accounts.

It was Britt's idea, of course. He is, after all, a mile whore. Which, I guess, makes me his mile bitch.

We spent about 20 hours in Los Angeles, which was just enough time to visit the Getty Center, West Hollywood and the two-store Apple Store in the Grove.

More on the Getty Center later. Britt and I got some great photographs.

The flights to and from L.A. (which involved changing planes in Denver) were excellent: the planes all arrived on time and the staff were friendly and courteous. The last time Britt and I flew to L.A. -- for the NLGJA convention in September -- we had a completely miserable experience on another airline, which, too, I will not name here.

One leg of that trip was so bad, I wrote the following letter to the airline's CEO. I posted it on the original Daily Dave, and I'm still proud of it so I'll post it again here. Of course, I've had to remove some information so that no one will be able to identify the airline.

September 10, 2003

[Name of CEO]
Chairman and CEO
[Airline name and address]

Dear Mr. [CEO],

I'm writing this letter on board a [name of airline] flight from Houston to Los Angeles because I want to share with you the horrible experience I'm suffering right now on your airline. To put it simply, the man in front of me smells bad. Really bad. This is, quite frankly, the worst body odor I have ever smelled in my entire life.

Imagine being locked inside a dumpster behind a Taco Bell on a 100-degree day. Now throw in some sweaty gym clothes and several pounds of rancid gorgonzola cheese. Just for fun, pretend you've also thrown up. That's the sort of stench I'm having to endure right now.

It's really that bad.

I've tried repositioning the air nozzles and covering my nose with my t-shirt. The flight attendant has come by to spray deodorant and air freshener. Nothing has worked. I have even tried ignoring the stench, but every time I think I've adjusted to the smell, another whiff of it wafts my way, and I feel like I'm going to retch.

It's not a good situation.

The flight attendant suggested I move, but I'm 6'2" and my travel companion is 6'5" and we're sitting in an exit row. There's nowhere else on the plane where we can sit together without risking permanent damage to our kneecaps. My partner is a [name of frequent flyer plan] member, and he's also on the verge of retching because of the smell.

I don't know why the man sitting in front of me smells so bad, but I have some theories. Since the in-flight entertainment is a made-for-TV movie featuring [very bad actress], I have enough spare time to share my hypotheses with you:

1. The man sitting in front of me comes from a country that has never heard of showers, baths or soap.
2. The man is flying to Los Angeles to audition for a role in a new Febreeze commercial. He's trying to snag a part in the "Before" part of the ad, not the "After" part.
3. He is a weapon of mass destruction.
4. He died several weeks ago, but no one has yet removed him from the plane.
5. The man is a geneticist. His latest project: crossbreeding skunks with stinkbeetles.
6. He is required to wear diapers because of an embarrassing bowel control problem, but he didn't read the directions properly and he thinks he's supposed to wear the same diaper continuously for several days.
7. An accident in his childhood endowed him with the ability to create awful smells that could stun and neutralize everyone around him. Now he prowls the streets at night as a cape-wearing vigilante, known only as the Odiferous Avenger.
8. He's just really, really stinky.

In fact, the person sitting in front of me isn't even supposed to be sitting there. The woman who holds the ticket for 14A took one whiff of the man sitting in her seat and decided to go elsewhere. The person in 14B also bolted, for obvious reasons.

I know it can be embarrassing to confront someone who smells bad, but I don't understand why [the airline's] gate crew didn't stop this passenger from boarding the plane, or why the flight attendants didn't ask him to leave. I don't expect all [airline] passengers to smell good all of the time, but this is an extreme case and someone should have taken action. Does [the airline] not care about the health and comfort of its customers and employees?

This is the kind of experience that will make me think twice about booking future flights on [your airline]. I know airlines aren't as generous today as they were in the past, but considering the situation, I think [the airline] owes me and my partner some consideration for enduring this monstrous stench. I'd be grateful if [the airline] could make me a [frequent flyer elite level] member, so that I can enjoy the same upgrade privileges as my partner. On this flight, like on most other flights on [your airline], he's usually forced to give up a first class upgrade so that we can sit together. It would mean so much to me if he didn't have to give up this hard-earned perk and if we weren't separated on flights.

Of course, travel vouchers and a [airline lounge] membership would be nice gestures, too.

The thing that would make me most happy, however, would be to see [your airline] implement some kind of policy on passenger hygiene. The situation that I'm in now really stinks – no pun intended – and it would please me to know that me, my partner, and no one else flying on [your airline] will ever have to bear this kind of horrible experience in the future.

Thank you for allowing me to share this experience with you. I look forward to your response.

Dave Simanoff

P.S. To be completely honest, the pun in the second-to-last paragraph was kind of intended. Please don't hold it against me.

I got a terse, unapologetic response from the airline a few weeks later.

Uh-oh -- I just realized that I've taken a stance against nausea-inducing body odor. I hope this doesn't compromise my journalistic integrity.

Saturday, January 10

There's nothing like a good scoop to brighten your day ("New Digs For Bucs At Mall On Way," link). I often grouse about being a reporter, but I love the feeling of waking up in the morning and knowing that the folks across the bay must scramble to play catch-up today. Many thanks to Trib sportswriter Katherine Smith for talking to her sources at the Bucs and working with me to flesh out the story.

Friday, January 9

At the top of my shopping list: this.

Thursday, January 8

REQUIRED READING: Check out "The Lyin' King Comes Clean, Remains Dirty," Joe Henderson's column about Pete Rose (link).

At last! The Department of Homeland Security finally cracks down on the biggest threat to our nation's safety. Check out the story here.

Oops. I didn't post anything yesterday. I suppose I'll have to change the name of my Web site to "The Somewhat Daily Dave."

Tuesday, January 6

I hope I'm not kidnapped anytime soon. A British vodka Web site (here) says my estimated ransom value is £110,015 ($200,332.33 at today's exchange rate). It also says I'm "prime first class victim material."

If I factor in my WFLA NewsChannel 8 celebrity status, my estimated ransom value rises to £170,486 ($310,452.23). I hope prospective kidnappers don't know about my MoneySense segments in the morning.

Dr. Laura is on the Today show this morning. What a wonderful way to start the day!

Sunday, January 4

There are a handful of new TV commercials that appear to have been designed with only one goal: to piss me off as much as possible. I'd like identify these ads, but here at the Daily Dave 2.0, I don't want to appear prejudiced against any products or services that I might have to write about in the future.

Here's what I can say without fear of reprisal:

  • I have yelled at the TV in response to one new ad from an auto manufacturer
  • At least three other automotive ads make me want to hurl things at the television
  • The new jingle for a well known restaurant chain makes me want puncture my eardrums with knitting needles
  • The latest promotional spots for a certain sporting event (or series of events) make me wish I didn't understand English
That's all I'm willing to write right now. Perhaps, if I overcome my self inflicted paranoia, I'll feel comfortable enough one day to tell you how I feel about the anthropomorphic oven mitt that's now serving as the spokesman (spokesglove? spokesthing? spokesitem?) for a fast food company.

Saturday, January 3

REQUIRED READING: Check out Wiretap's interview with David Cross (link). I, of course, have no opinion about any of the issues raised in the interview. Check it out anyway.

Thursday, January 1

From the parents:

Moishe was crossing the street in Miami when he was hit by a bus and knocked unconscious. A Catholic priest arrived about the same time the paramedics got there. Not knowing his religion, the priest administered last rites, following which Moishe's eyes fluttered and he was fully awake. The priest told him about the last rites. Moishe said, "Well, a little change doesn't hurt." He couldn't wait to get home to tell his family about his experience.

When he got there he said to his wife, "Sadie, you won't believe what happened to your husband today."

She said, "Moishe, I don't have time. I am late for a Hadassah meeting. Your TV dinner is in the oven. See you later."

Moishe then went to his daughter's room and said, "Darling, you should hear what happened to your father today."

She said, "Daddy, I'm on the phone with a friend planning a wedding shower. Please close the door."

Moishe then went to look for his son who was just backing the car out of the driveway. "Son, let me tell you what happened today."

The son said, "Dad, I am late for a date. I need the car and $100."

So Moishe went back into the house, shook his head and said. "Here I am, a gentile for only two hours and already I hate three Jews."

Complementary spouse Britt Shirley and I have decided that we prefer the new and improved Brawny Paper Towel guy (link) to the old one. We don't have any personal grudge against the old Brawny guy; we just think his mustache should have remained in the '70s, when it apparently enjoyed a successful career in the porn industry (link), instead of following up into the new millennium.

I may enter Britt in the "Make Over My Brawny Man" contest. He would be the ideal Brawny man, because he is strong, gentle and absorbent.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! In the Chinese calendar, 2004 is the year of the Skippy.