Monday, December 26

March On!

DirecTV's Web site describes "March of the Penguins" as a R-rated mystery film.

Either it's a mistake, or the MPAA revised its original rating because of all the penguin nudity. I have no idea why it's considered a mystery. Maybe the director's cut includes a scene with Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with a candlestick.

Vroom

I don't know if local motorists are still in some sort of holiday-induced stupor, of if they're just stupid, but it seems like there are a lot of bad drivers on the road today.

On my way out of Britton Plaza this morning, a driver in the right lane made a left turn right in front of me. She didn't have her turn signal on. And she had the nerve to flick me off after I honked at her -- as if she were doing a perfectly normal thing and I should be lambasted for questioning her driving judgment.

About an hour later, I saw an accident on Dale Mabry Highway. A driver in the left-hand lane decided to stop suddenly, causing several vehicles to stop suddenly ... and one didn't stop in time. I was in the right-hand lane, and I heard the crash behind me, and in my rear-view mirror I saw bits of glass and glass and metal spill out into the road. I can't imagine anyone was hurt, as no one seemed to be traveling fast enough to cause any major damage or injuries.

Perhaps I will stay home for the rest of the day.

Sunday, December 25

This Is News?

Jews have been noshing on Chinese food on Christmas Day since, well, the days of Abraham and Sarah. I can't believe someone at AP was so surprised by this news that he or she decided to assign a story about it.

From the story:

Jewish customers account for much of Wong's business this time of year. Chinese food has long been a popular destination for Jews on Christmas, when few other restaurants are open.

"Chinese restaurants, Asian-owned restaurants, those owners tended to be the only folks who didn't have Christmas, too," said Rabbi David Kay of Congregation Ohev Shalom in Orlando, Florida.


What other stories might this editor be assigning? I can see the headlines now:

-- "Pope Catholic, sources say"
-- "Bear shits in woods"
-- "Shocker! Devil Rays lose"

Happy Hanukkah!


Happy Hanukkah!
Originally uploaded by Dave Sim.
Oh Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah! / Come light the menorah. / Let's have a party. / We'll all dance the hora!

Saturday, December 24

New Rules

This was forwarded to me by America's Favorite Goth Reporter Dieter. I especially like the Starbucks item. Dieter says he doesn't know the original source -- it was forwarded to him by someone else -- but it sounds a bit Bill Maher-ish, if you ask me.

Enjoy.

New Rule: Stop giving me that pop-up ad for Classmates.com! There's a reason you don't talk to people for 25 years. Because you don't particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these days: mowing my lawn.

New Rule: Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unless you're a seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did you expect it would contain?? Luckily, it was only a finger! If it was a whole hand, Congress would have voted to keep it alive.

New Rule: Stop saying that teenage boys who have sex with their hot, blonde teachers are permanently damaged. I have a better description for these kids: lucky bastards.

New Rule: Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here's how much men care about your eyebrows: do you have two of them? Okay, we're done.

New Rule: There's no such thing as flavored water. There's a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket, water, but without that watery taste. Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt. That's your flavored water.

New Rule: The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the asshole. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a "decaf grande half-soy, half-low fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n'-Low and one NutraSweet," ooh, you're a huge asshole.

New Rule: Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you spiritual. It's right above the crack of your ass. And it translates to "beef with broccoli." The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren't pregnant. You're not spiritual. You're just high.

New Rule: Competitive eating isn't a sport. It's one of the seven deadly sins. ESPN recently televised the US Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting. What's next, competitive farting? Oh wait. They're already doing that. It's called "The Howard Stern Show."

New Rule: If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy, old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens. Let's remember the reason something was a television show in the first place is the idea wasn't good enough to be a movie.

New Rule: No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings. Now it's for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab. Picking up the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn't gift giving, it's the white people version of looting.

New Rule, and this one is long overdue: No more bathroom attendants. After I zip up, some guy is offering me a towel and a mint like I just had sex with George Michael. I can't even tell if he's supposed to be there, or just some freak with a fetish. I don't want to be on your web cam, dude. I just want to wash my hands.

New Rule: When I ask how old your toddler is, I don't need to know in months. "27 Months." "He's two," will do just fine. He's not a cheese. And I didn't really care in the first place.

And This Is Why I'm Against Genetic Engineering

After months of speculation, rumors and misinformation, the truth can finally be told: American scientists have succeeded in their quest to crossbreed a Slinky with a Santa Claus hat.

Go USA! Our country's scientific ingenuity knows no bounds!

The Slinky-Santa hat in this picture was worn proudly by the hyperactive kid in front of Britt and me at today's Bucs-Falcons game. (After four ho-hum quarters, the Bucs won the game in the final seconds of a thrilling overtime.) Every time this damn child moved, Britt and I had to dodge the bobbing white pom-pom. It sounds funny, but was really quite traumatic. I predict tonight I will have nightmares about being attacked by spring-loaded fluff balls.

Little Elephant Appropriates A Candy Cane

Elephants -- even the littlest ones -- enjoy partaking in all the delicious treats of the holidays.

Of course, elephants with a sugar buzz can be quite a handful.

Elephants At The Airport


Elephants at the airport
Originally uploaded by Dave Sim.
Tampa International Airport was packed tonight. Hundreds of people were waiting to pick up relatives and friends. Complementary Spouse Britt didn't get in until after midnight, as he arranged the most indirect route from Denver to Tampa in order to reap as many frequent flyer miles as possible.

I believe he had a layover in Guam.

Friday, December 23

iVeep

Someone forwarded the following news story to me. Here at the new and improved Daily Dave (our motto: "Sanitized for our protection"), we bring these matters to your attention solely for your edification. We have not, in any way, been making humorous comments today about what songs may or may not be on the Vice President's playlist. The thought has never even crossed our minds.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2005 -- After a four-day overseas trip that took him to four countries in the Middle East, Vice President Dick Cheney really wanted to get his iPod charged for that long return flight to Washington.

Since it is his plane, the vice president's iPod took priority and was plugged into one of the only working power outlets on Air Force Two, frustrating reporters who were trying to file stories.


More details here.

"Oh, Brian, you're just ants at a picnic"

I have started posting my cameraphone pictures on Flickr. You'll find the gallery here.

I take a lot of totally unnecessary pictures with my cameraphone, so bookmark the page -- or, better yet, set up an RSS feed -- because I know you're just dying to experience the random, mundane things I experience in my humdrum everyday life.

"Please, Dave, take pictures with your cameraphone and post them online," is a request I hear repeatedly.

By the way, the line "Oh Brian, you're just ants at a picnic" comes from an episode of "Family Guy." It has nothing to do with the rest of this post.

Or, in other words, you're not insane. I am.

Meet Tamani


Elephants
Originally uploaded by Dave Sim.
The new baby at Lowry Park Zoo has a name and it's (drumroll, please) Tamani. It's a Swahili word that means "hope," according to zoo officials.

Check out these photos I shot a few weekends ago.

Isn't Tamani the cutest little fella you've ever seen? He almost makes me wish I had attended the University of Alabama so that I could get away with wearing elephant-emblazoned clothes all the time. (The optimal word in that last sentence is "almost.")

Thursday, December 22

Daal at the Washington Monument


Daal at the Washington Monument
Originally uploaded by Dave Sim.
Everyone loves an elephant picture during the holidays.

In fact, today is National Share Your Baby Elephant Photo day.

Wednesday, December 21

Ta.st.y

Come join me on del.icio.us.

Sunday, December 18

Campbell's Mmm Mmm Good

Who knew wearing a soup can on your head would be so enjoyable or informative?

MySpace

I am now one of those MySpace people. This means I'm part of the hottest, trendiest, most sought-after group of Internet users in the world.

No, wait. I'm thinking of something else. Being on MySpace makes me a big ol' geek, and now that I have set up an account, we can all look forward to the countless hours I will spend ignoring the darn thing until the MySpace people delete my account because it will not have been updated in ages.

I believe that last sentence was, indeed, grammatically correct. I do not know however if it made any sense.

For now, however, find me at www.myspace.com/skipford. And if you're a MySpace user, let me know what the heck all this is about.

King Kong

Complementary spouse Britt and I saw Peter Jackson's "King Kong" today. I loved it. Britt said it was too long, but I think he's jealous because he couldn't afford any computer-generated dinosaurs for his remake of "King Kong." He used lizards. Not showbiz lizards, though. Little tiny Florida lizards from our front yard.

It was, in hindsight, the worst version of "King Kong" ever.

No, I take that back.

That Jeff Bridges-Jessica Lange fiasco was the worst version of "King Kong" ever, by far.

Monday, December 12

Around The World, Again...



Looking for a cinematic masterpiece? You won't find it here: "Around The World In 365 Days (Again)," a short film about Britt's and my travel adventures this year.

You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll be horrified by the cheap production values -- the whole thing looks like a bunch of digital photos, slapped together in iMovie. Not impressed? Well, excuse me for not being the next Peter Jackson. I don't even own a video camera. Why is NOTHING ever good enough for you?

Cue tears.

Last year's travel movie, which is much less passive-aggressive, can still be found here if you're interested.

Sunday, December 11

Species-licious

You know, whenever we discover a new species of animal in this world, I am struck with feelings of awe and wonder. I am also left wondering what it would taste like.

Mmmm.

Saturday, December 10

Bill O'Reilly vs. Howard Stern

The new and improved (and sanitized for my protection) Daily Dave 2.0 would never offer up an opinion on the recent Howard Stern vs. Bill O'Reilly brouhaha. I only mention these things as a public service.

Thursday, December 8

Too Many Words

It seems food manufacturers are trying to cram more and more words into the names of their new products. First we had Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, and now there's Vanilla Yogurt Crunch Life Cereal, as seen here with Side Salad blogger and all-around great guy Jeff Houck:


So, what's next? I predict it won't be long before we see Low Fat Ginger Sardine Hazelnut Oreos.

Friday, December 2

How Redundant

I saw this book in Borders:


Do you really think they needed the word "Evil" in the title? Is there a competing book called "Benevolent Serial Killers" somewhere?

Jewlicious!

If I were to create my own Kosher soy sauce, here's what I would call it:


Of course, now that someone's already claimed the name "Soy Vay," I could always create a competing brand called "Soy Gevalt."

Thursday, December 1

Bunnies For Christmas

Although I don't think I sit though another nauseating forced-nostalgia-fest viewing of "A Christmas Story," I can certainly stomach a 30-second parody of the film. Especially when it features cartoon bunnies.

Go here to see what I'm talking about.

Monday, November 21

Buy Me!

Looking for a Hanukkah gift for your favorite blogger? Why not buy me this t-shirt?

Saturday, November 19

RIP Kirsty MacColl

Singer and songwriter Kirsty MacColl died nearly five years ago. Sadly, I discovered her music after she was gone. She was a brilliant musician, and her final album, "Tropical Brainstorm," is one of my favorites.

I'm thinking of her because "In These Shoes?" just popped up on my iPod. It's such a brilliant song. I think the world is a slightly duller place now that we've got no new Kirsty MacColl music to look forward to.

For a glimpse at Kirsty MacColl's wit and genius, check out her song about stalking a former stalker, "Treachery":

I'm stalking a fan
He lives in a high rise block
And here I am
He shouldn't have turned my rock
He's brushing his teeth
He doesn't look bad from this far
I'm hailing a cab
And I'm gonna follow his car
Wherever he goes
I won't be too far behind
Just hanging around
Driving him out of his mind

Treachery made a monster out of me

I'm stalking a fan
He used to write all the time
How lovely I am
He really made me feel fine
But how they forget
He needed a wake-up call
And he will regret
Having been so shallow
He made me believe
That I was some kind of myth
So here I am
How could he treat me like this?

Treachery made a monster out of me

Wherever he goes
I won't be too far behind
Just hanging around
Driving him out of his mind

I'm stalking a fan
He's gone to the record store
To buy a CD
By some other girl not me
He's taking her home
Getting her out of her box
And putting her on
And dancing around in his socks

Treachery made a monster out of me

Getting her out of her box
Treachery
And dancing around in his socks
Treachery
Treachery
And dancing around in his socks
Treachery
Driving him out of his mind

Friday, November 11

Aaargh -- Novel Writing!

I wonder what Steven King or Amy Tan do when they write themselves into a corner.

Here's what I did:

When the light from the photocopier’s green growing strip hit the reflective surface of the mirror, the fabric of space and time ripped open and the universe was destroyed. Every person, every thing, every idea ceased to exist.

This was, in fact, a very good thing.

First, the universe that was destroyed wasn’t our own. Despite the many similarities to our own universe, it was in fact wholly evil, and was just days away from developing the technology that would allow its sinister agents to pass into our own time and space.

Second, the author of this pathetic novel got a much-needed opportunity to start again from scratch. He was optimistic that this time he wouldn’t produce such a horrible piece of dreck.


I have named my new protagonist David Everyman. He is just like me, except that he didn't forget to take his suit jacket this morning so he doesn't have to return home before reporting for work today.

Thursday, November 10

The Legend Lives On From The Chippewa On Down

They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water,
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters

-- Gordon Lightfoot

The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald sunk 30 years ago today.

Wednesday, November 9

NaNoWriMo Update: One-Fourth Of The Way There

My horrible, unpleasant novel is 24% complete. I have until Nov. 30 to finish the damn thing, at which point I will delete the file and reformat my hard drive so that humanity is spared from seeing my second pathetic attempt at fiction writing.

See my National Novel Writing Month author page for an excerpt that doesn't totally suck.

Recycled Content: Opera Plots In 17 Syllables

Here's some opera haiku from the original Daily Dave:

Carmen:
Time for a smoke break.
Hey, look, it's the bullfighter!
José kills Carmen.

Fidelio:
Husband imprisoned,
and lady looks like a dude.
Great overture, though.

La Traviata:
Tuberculosis
used to be called consumption.
Either way, the girl dies.

Figaro:
The count wants his way
With the barber's fiancée.
Comedy ensues.

La Bohéme:
Joyful poor artists.
Mimi's hand is freezing cold.
Now she's dead. Life sucks.

Tuesday, November 8

Cà d'Zan

Britt and I took a day trip to Sarasota last weekend. Check out the photo gallery.

Harajuku View

Check out what Margaret Cho has to say about Gwen Stefani's Harajuku girls:

I want to like them, and I want to think they are great, but I am not sure if I can. I mean, racial stereotypes are really cute sometimes, and I don't want to bum everyone out by pointing out the minstrel show. I think it is totally acceptable to enjoy the Harajuku girls, because there are not that many other Asian people out there in the media really, so we have to take whatever we can get. Amos 'n Andy had lots of fans, didn't they? At least it is a measure of visibility, which is much better than invisibility. I am so sick of not existing, that I would settle for following any white person around with an umbrella just so I could say I was there.

Thanks to Vicki for forwarding this to me.

Friday, November 4

As Time Goes By

You must remember this: a kiss is still a kiss.

Thursday, November 3

Brian Goes Online!

My old college roommate Brian Ries is taking his business online! Check out his online store for comic books and games at PopComicsAndGames.com.

Novel Update

Well, I'm about 10 percent of the way through my novel for National Novel Writing Month. I didn't write anything on Tuesday, as I was too busy to carve out any time, but I managed to churn out 2,730 words yesterday, in two sessions. I returned to my writing spot at Starbucks this morning and again this evening and now my total is up to 5,043 words.

If I keep this pace up, I should have my novel compete well before the Nov. 30 deadline. Of course, the most important part of that last sentence was the qualifier, "if I keep this pace up."

Want to follow my progress? Visit my NaNoWriMo profile for the latest word count.

Sunday, October 30

NaNo Nooooooo!

National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) starts Nov. 1, and I still have no idea what I want to write.

No characters. No plots. No clue even about a genre.

The problem, I think, is that I want the end result to be a poignant, touching story which reveals some great truth about life and society, but (1) my writing skills aren't adequate to produce a work of grandeur, and (2) I'd end up with some rambling, misdirected, boring tome that wouldn't be worth the paper I'm not going to print it on.

I'm still stunned when I can string two words together coherently, let alone put together a sentence, paragraph or story with some style and substance. When people complement me on my writing, my gut reaction is: are you kidding?

Also, I think I should try to write something funny and unpredictable, in the vein of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or a Carl Hiaasen novel. Humor is one of my strengths. At least, I think it is. If it's not, I'll have to take it off my resume.

Oh well. I'll probably just hammer out "All work and no play makes Dave a dull boy," several hundred times. Or even better, in homage to the Simpsons: "No TV and no beer make Dave something something."

Anyone have any ideas for my novel? Leave me a comment. Please.

Saturday, October 29

Tall Order

I enjoy being tall. I'm not sure, however, how I feel about this advertisement.

Discarded

I'm very fortunate. Since coming out, I've been surrounded by friends, family and co-workers who accept me. Sexual orientation has never been an issue -- much less a problem.

However, every once in a while I experience something that reminds me that society has stacked the deck against me.

Take Thursday night, for example, when I went looking for an anniversary card. (For those of you who don't know, Britt and I are celebrating three years together today.) I browsed dozens, if not hundreds, of cards at Target and CVS and found very few that apply to Britt and me.

Most of the cards made explicit references to husbands and wives. Others spoke of marriages and weddings. And when I found a card with a message I liked, the artwork showed a man and a woman. Out of countless cards, I only found two that I thought would be appropriate for Britt and me -- and neither of them I liked very much. I bought them both anyway. What else could I do? Commission a special-order card from the Blue Mountain Arts folks? Protest outside Hallmark headquarters? Organize a letter-writing campaign to American Greetings?

I'm sure I could have found a card at a gay bookstore but, alas, the one in our neighborhood shut its doors a few months ago. Too much competition from Borders and Starbucks, I guess. The nearest gay bookstore now is in St. Petersburg.

Boldly Going Where No "Star Trek" Cast Member Has Gone Before

Congratulations to George Takei, aka Mr. Sulu, who has recently come out of the closet. Here's an excerpt from the AP story:

Takei, a Japanese-American who lived in a U.S. internment camp from age 4 to 8, said he grew up feeling shameful about his ethnicity and sexuality. He likened prejudice against gays to racial segregation.

"It's against basic decency and what American values stand for," he said.

Monday, October 24

Recycled Content: Officially Old

The posting from three years ago today:

Today I am officially an old man. I went to the podriatrist because I've had some pain in my left foot recently, and he prescribed naproxen for the pain and inflamation. Naproxen is ARTHRITIS MEDICATION! I am taking arthritis medication! I suppose it won't be long before I put on shorts and black socks and move to North Miami Beach and eat dinner at 4 p.m.

Sunday, October 23

Napier






Check out my travel story in today's Tampa Tribune: "Art of Rebirth." It's all about Napier, the New Zealand that was destroyed in 1931 and rebuilt as an art deco haven, and the recent destruction of New Orleans.

(The story didn't travel well from the newspaper to the Web site -- the headline got mangled, the subhead is missing, and photo captions are thrown at the top of the article. I'll point out the problems tomorrow at work; perhaps everything will be fixed up by the time you read this.)

Don't forget the sidebar, packed with tips for folks traveling to New Zealand.

Photos from Napier, plus pics from the rest of the trip to New Zealand and Australia, can be found in my photo gallery.

Hello, Wilma!

The rain has started, the wind has picked up, and the temperature has dipped a few degrees.

Welcome to Florida, Wilma. Just don't come too close to Tampa, please.

Jack Welch, Action Figure?

Finally, a super hero for today's business world: after eliminating the enemy, he then eliminates extraneous business processes, thereby boosting productivity and efficiency throughout the organization.


OK, so these new G.I. Joe characters are labeled "Sigma Six" and not "Six Sigma." Still, it's pretty funny. I can't wait until they actually roll out actuary action figures.

D'oh-lightful!

Sure, lots of Web sites list Simpsons quotes, but I think I've just discovered the only one that's dedicated to recording and explaining the subtle, subversive snippets of genius that make the show so remarkable. Check out Subtly Simpsons. You won't be disappointed.

Here's how my absolute favorite bit from the Simpsons — hard to quote directly, because there's so much context behind it – shows up on Subtly Simpsons:

When Sideshow Bob is in court, accused of trying to kill Bart, the lawyer says to him on the stand, "But what about that tattoo on your chest? Doesn't it say, 'Die Bart, Die?'"

Sideshow Bob responds by saying, "No, That's German for, 'The Bart, The."

Someone in the courtroom then whispers, "No one who speaks German could be an evil man."

Episode: 9F22 Cape Feare


See? Sheer brilliance!

Another:

Milhouse, on falling in love: "It was just like Romeo and Juliet, only it ended in tragedy."

This is the sardonic, sophisticated wit that makes The Simpsons the second-best American comedy in recorded history. (The No. 1 U.S. comedy of all time, in both the depth of its writing and the breadth of its acting, is "Full House." I'm sure you knew that already.)

WIL-MAAAAA!

We're blue — for now

A couple of thoughts:

First, the folks should devise the list of hurricane names shouldn't turn to cartoon characters for inspiration. Every time a meteorologist, reporter or anchor says "Wilma" on TV, I can't help but think of Fred Flintstone shouting out that name. What's next: Hurricane Pebbles? Hurricane Captain Caveman? Hurricane Velma?

Second, I should rethink that first thought of mine. Hurricane Velma sounds kind of cool.

Third, if you MUST name a hurricane after a cartoon character, at least chose a cartoon that wasn't such an blatant rip-off of "The Honeymooners," OK?

Fourth, since it looks like we're in for an extended period of heavy hurricane activity, why not do something fun with the hurricane lists? Like, for instance, have a theme every year. Why not name next year's hurricanes after '70s and '80s musicians and groups: Hurricane ABBA, Hurricane Bangles, Hurricane Cher, Hurricane Depeche Mode, Hurricane Eurythmics, Hurricane Foreigner, Hurricane Gordon Lightfoot, Hurricane Heart, Hurricane INXS, Hurricane Joe Jackson, Hurricane Kinks, Hurricane Laura Branigan, Hurricane Midnight Oil, Hurricane Neneh Cherry, Hurricane Olivia Newton-John, Hurricane Parliament Funkadelic, Hurricane Run-DMC, Hurricane Sister Sledge, Hurricane Tears for Fears, Hurricane Van Halen and Hurricane Whitesnake? (I think it's proof that I'm a true Floridian that I know off the top of my head which letters are skipped for hurricane names: Q, U, X, Y, Z.) The following year, why not the names of box office failures. On second thought, maybe not. What would be the H storm: Hurricane Hudson Hawk or Hurricane Howard the Duck?

Wednesday, October 19

Red Rum!

What could be better watching Stanley Kubrick's horror classic "The Shining" as Halloween approaches? Watching the film re-enacted by cartoon bunnies in 30 seconds, of course.

Tuesday, October 18

It's Not Paranoia If They Really Are Out To Get You

Ever get the feeling that a bunch of rich, paternalistic middle-age white guys are having a good laugh at your expense? That, for sport, they're making your life more complicated and sucking precious dollars out of your wallet? And that every time you clear a hurdle, they roll out two more obstacles in your path?

I never do. Nuh-uh. The thought had never crossed my mind.

Sunday, October 16

Bubbles Everywhere!

I don't condone vandalism. But I do condone visiting The Bubble Project Web site.

Progress Marches On!

Complementary spouse Britt Shirley and I visited Borders yesterday. That's where I spotted a Stuart Woods paperback with the following verbiage: "Specially designed for comfortable reading."


What? How were all previous books NOT designed for comfortable reading? I mean, it's not like all other paperbacks were encased in barbed wire or coated in a thin layer of flesh-eating acid. This book didn't look any different than any other paperback on the shelf: it was approximately the same size, shape and weight as all its neighbors. Inside, it looked like an ordinary paperback too: no special typefaces or explanatory diagrams to help readers.

If a book touts itself as being "designed for comfortable reading," then it should be designed for more reading. What would that entail? I don't know. What about a helium-filled chamber in the spine of heavier books, making them easier to hold up? Or notes telling you when you can skip over certain passages: that would have been very helpful toward the end of "Atlas Shrugged," when one of the main characters delivers a painfully long speech that could have been boiled down to just two words: "capitalism rocks." How about built in coasters for those impressive looking books you buy to adorn your coffee table, not to read? Built-in inflatable neck pillows for books so boring they put you to sleep?

Friday, October 14

The Name Game

Dang -- Britt and I were going to name our first child Kal-El Simanoff-Shirley, but now that name's already taken. Thanks for ruining things for us, Nicolas Cage.

Thursday, October 13

Death Of A Pioneer

A haiku on the death of Vivian Malone Jones:

Progress can be blocked
(Wallace in the schoolhouse door)
But not forever.

If A Doctor Says It, It Must Be True

From The Simpsons:

Dr. Hibbert: Another broccoli-related death.
Marge: But I thought broccoli was—
Dr. Hibbert: Oh yes. One of the deadliest plants on earth. It tries to warn you itself with its terrible taste.

So Hungry

Three hours and 20 minutes until Yom Kippur ends. I am soooooooo hungry.

Wednesday, October 12

More Recycled Content

Looking through the original Daily Dave, I found this amusing post from Sept. 14, 2003.

Britt and I had one final celebrity encounter before leaving Los Angeles: We ran into Hildi Santo-Tomas, the Idi Amin of interior design on "Trading Spaces," at the L.A. airport.

I told Hildi I was a big fan of the show, and Britt said he would like to work with her some day. (What he didn't say is that he wants to work with her because it would ensure that she wasn't redecorating a room in our home!)

Hildi seemed very pleasant, and thanked us for watching the show. She appeared to be in a hurry, so we didn't ask her for a photograph.

Now, as we're sitting on the airplane, Britt says he thinks Hildi should be called the Salvador Dalí of interior decorating. When I point out that Dalí was a talented artist while Hildi's job is mainly to wreck people's bedrooms and living rooms, Britt responds "Hildi is really good -- she's just really out there."

I think Britt would change his mind if Hildi came to our house, painted over his Bear Bryant portrait, and pasted hay on the walls.

Tuesday, October 11

You know what I love? I love the fact that when a snake bursts after trying to eat an alligator, Jeff Houck knows just what to write about it.

Oh, The Smurftanity!

I'm not sure bombing the Smurfs is the most appropriate way to get your anti-war message across. I could be wrong, though.

Sunday, October 9

I Hope They're Not Expecing Many Impulse Buys

Britt and I went to Publix tonight. I was amused to find a display for Oscar Meyer bacon sitting next to the Empire Kosher frozen foods case.

Wednesday, October 5

Hockey Is Back!

Hockey is back. It's really back. I'm watching it right now. I'm merely thrilled to see the Lightning back on the ice, but Britt has entered a state of frenzied delirium.

Actually, Britt is quite calm right now. He's putting together some information for his students. I just wanted to use the phrase "frenzied delirium" because, well, who wouldn't? I'm an English major. Using big words is my only marketable skill.

Did you know that rambling and incoherent thought are two of the signs of delirium? I think this means that my entire life is spent in a delirious daze.

Do I Have The Write Stuff?


Official NaNoWriMo 2005 Participant

It's that time of year again -- time to start preparing for National Novel Writing Month. I have no ideas, no semblance of a plot, and no idea who the characters will be. Good thing I have until November 1 to think things through.

Tuesday, October 4

Happy New Year ... Now Take Care Of Your Chores


Sound the shofar! Today is Rosh Hashanah, which marks the start of the Jewish new year. Britt and I went to services last night, but this morning I went back alone. I think the three hours of praying, standing, sitting, singing and more praying probably scared him off. But I give him so much credit for coming. I feel so out of place in a Church service, so I can probably imagine what's going through his head when everyone's singing "Adon Olam" or reciting the Shema and he has no idea what's going on.

On an unrelated note: what's up with everyone singing all these serious, weighty versions of "Adon Olam?" What happened to the totally fun, fast, catchy version I used to sing when I was a kid? I looked for "Adon Olam" on the iTunes music store last night and every version, except one, sounded weird and laborious.

Back to Rosh Hashanah: Britt and I celebrated the arrival of 5766 with a traditional Jewish feast -- we ate Chinese food! After the meal, I cracked open my fortune cookie and discovered the crappiest, lamest, most mundane fortune ever found inside a cookie, or any other foodstuff: "Saturdays are good days for taking care of chores."

Yes, that's right. The fortune is telling me that I should take care of my chores on Saturday. There wasn't any advice or prognostication about health, wealth, love, happiness. Even if you add "in bed" to the end, you end up with "Saturdays are good days for taking care of chores in bed." What's titillating about that? Nothing! Who the heck is writing fortune cookies these days? School marms? My mother? What's next -- fortunes telling people to pay their taxes early?

In fact, I think the fortune is a little anti-Semitic. Saturday is shabbat, the sabbath. It's the Jewish day of rest. Conservative Jews won't drive, cook or even flip a light switch on shabbat, so they're definitely not going to take care of chores.

I hope this fortune cookie is not a sign of things to come in the new year.

New York Had "The Gates." I Have This.

I walked into the men's room at work yesterday to discover one of the urinals wrapped in a clear plastic bag:


There can only be one explanation: Christo has been visiting our bathroom.

Sunday, October 2

Am I A Geek?

I am considering renaming my iBook and of the things that plug into it after characters from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy": -- Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, Marvin, etc.

Would this make me the biggest geek on the planet?

(Update: My external hard drive is now named Marvin. I think the thumb drive will be the next victim -- er, recipient -- of my new naming scheme.)

Friday, September 30

Quote Of The Day

"Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws." -- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Thursday, September 29

Must Buy Stamps

I believe these are the best stamps ever released by the U.S. Postal Service:

From USPS.com.


Is it acceptable to buy stamps, frame them and hang them on the wall?

Wednesday, September 28

I Feel The Earth Move Under My (Webbed) Feet

You thought those birds in "March of the Penguins" had it hard? At least they didn't have to contend with land mines!

Monday, September 26

Everybody Loves "Everybody Hates Chris"

I just saw the pilot episode of "Everybody Hates Chris" -- not on UPN, mind you, but here, on the Google Video Web site. It's terrific! Finally, I have a new show to look forward to on TV.

Kudos to the folks at Paramount for posting an episode of the show online. I may never have seen it otherwise.

Sunday, September 25

The Body Politic

New Zealand politics are much more interesting than U.S. politics.

The Apple Store, North Michigan Avenue

If there is a heaven on earth, I'm in it. It's the Apple Store on Chicago's Magnificent Mile. There are comfy seats, friendly sales people, and two stories of Mac toys to play with.

Thursday, September 22

Required Reading

I enjoyed yesterday's USA Today story about Melissa Etheridge's rebound from cancer. I think there's a greatest hits album on the way, but it also looks like Melissa has some new songs for us too.

Check out the story.

Unrelated and totally stupid thought: What if Julie Cypher (Melissa's ex) married actor Mekhi Phifer? Would she call herself Jule Cypher Phifer?

Even more stupid thought: What if Mekhi Phifer married actress and former Catwoman Michelle Pfeiffer?

Katrina Explained

Of course! Katrina wasn't just a cruel trick of nature, but a plot by the Japanese mafia to attack American cities with a weather-controlling weapon designed by the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War! If the weather guy on TV says so, it must be true.

Don't believe the Associated Press? Get it straight from the horse's mouth.

Totally unrelated thought: where on earth does the phrase "straight from the horse's mouth" come from? It makes no sense. For that matter, "raining cats and dogs" needs some explaining too.

Sunday, September 18

The Daily Dave's Guide To The Galaxy

I don't know how many times I have reread "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" in my life, but I'm sure it's more than 42. I didn't know what to expect when the movie came out earlier this year, but I found the film charming and I rushed out to buy the DVD earlier this week.

I've heard some people fault the film for missing many of the book's nuances and quirks, and for messing around with bits of the plot. I think these are minor complaints -- "Hitchhiker's" lost none of its appeal or wit, I believe, on its long journey from page to screen. The movie delivers sights and sounds that the book simply can't: hearing Marvin talk, watching a Vogon plod around and read poetry, seeing the Guide in action.

Plus, in all the many times I've read the book, I've never encountered a toe-tapping song-and-dance number involving dolphins. The film's got all that -- and bulldozers! and bypasses! -- in just the first few minutes. The opening lyrics:

So Long & Thanks for All the Fish
So long, and thanks for all the fish
So sad that it should come to this
We tried to warn you all, but, oh, dear

You may not share out intellect
Which might explain your disrespect
For all the natural wonders that grow around you

So long, so long, and thanks for all the fish!


Brilliant!

Final thought: Read the book. See the film. Read the book again.

Finaler thought:

Slartibartfast: I'd much rather be happy than right any day.
Arthur: Well, are you?
Slartibartfast: [laughs] No.

Saturday, September 17

Attention, Univerity of Tennessee Marching Band

Stop playing "Rocky Top." Stop playing it now. Or else Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley will explode with white-hot rage. And then who knows what he'd do to you! Don't mess with a logistics expert. You might find all of your possessions shipped to a 7-Eleven store in suburban Tokyo. Revenge is a dish best served though just-in-time supply chain management.

Go Gators!

America's Favorite Baby Brother Lee Simanoff and America's Favorite Sister-In-Law Michon Simanoff are currently at the Gators-Vols game in Gainesville. I'm watching for them on TV.

I believe they're wearing blue and orange t-shirts. They should be easy to spot.

Caffeine Queen

You've heard of a tempest in a tea cup? Now we've got a controversy in a coffee cup, thanks to Starbucks.

It seems some people are upset that Starbucks would include a quote from a gay author in its series of "As I See It" coffee cups.

The quote in question: "My only regret about being gay is that I repressed it for so long. I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don't make that mistake yourself. Life's too damn short."

The author: Armistead Maupin, whose "Tales of the City" books capture the experience of living (and loving) in San Francisco in the 1970s and 1980s.

Of course, we here at the Daily Dave 2.0 (motto: "Self-Neutered For Our Protection") wouldn't dare offer any opinions of this issue. We are only bringing it to our readers' attention so that they may form their own opinions. After all, we wouldn't want our corporate masters to think we were capable of independent thought -- or, worse, that we might share those thoughts with anyone else! The horror, the horror!

Wednesday, September 14

Bathroom Break

Whenever I walk into a men's room and see someone standing at a urinal, with his hands on his hips, I have to fight the urge to shout "Look ma, no hands!"

A Fruit Haiku

Grapes are delicious.
Peach fuzz feels weird on my tongue.
I like cantaloupe.

Back From The Knight Center

I returned to the newsroom Monday morning (after spending last week at the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, learning about the global economy and U.S. labor market) and found eight messages waiting for me on voice mail. One caller, who left his name, thanked me for "a wonderful article" and praised by "great writing style." Another caller, who didn't leave a name, condemned my "horseshit liberal bullshit" and compared me to Bill Clinton.

I love being a reporter.

Sunday, September 11

Photos, Macs, And The Potomac

Pictures from Washington, D.C., are now online. Check them out and tell me what you think.

Here are a few previews:







Click here to see the whole photo gallery.

Washington D.C. On Flickr

I am starting to fiddle around with Flickr, a Web site for sharing photos. Flickr is free and has some interesting features, but I'm not sure it will take the place of my .Mac photo pages. I'm eager to hear from other Flickr users to find out what they like and don't like about the site.

For now, I've put a handful of my D.C. photos on Flickr. You can find them here.

I'll have a proper photo gallery on .Mac posted soon.

Wednesday, September 7

Greetings From College Park, Md.

I'm at a program for journalists covering the economy and labor market. The programs are interesting, as are the other attendees -- and, after 24 hours and a number of irate phone calls to the front desk -- I finally have hot water in my hotel room.

Monday, September 5

Keith Darce's Blog

Keith Darce, a business reporter (for the New Orleans Times-Picayune) and a fellow member of NLGJA, has started a blog to chronicle his post-Katrina experiences. You can find it here. It sounds like he's living through hell, although he and his partner are safe.

Britt and I hope he'll soon be able to experience some semblance of normalcy.

Gift Shop

Yesterday, at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, I was taken aback to learn there was a gift shop. What kind of mementos could they offer, I thought. What would people want to take home? All sorts of horribly absurd ideas passed through my head: stuffed animals, coffee mugs, silly hats and the like. (Most absurd idea: T-shirts that said "My parents went to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and all I got was this stupid t-shirt.")

After touring the permanent exhibit, Britt and I peeked our heads into the gift shop. It wasn't anything like the Disneyfied horror I had imagined. There were tons of educational books and videos, a small selection of Jewish tchotchkes, and some post cards and posters highlighting the museum's architecture. I had feared the gift shop would make light of the museum's experience; instead, it highlighted that experience.

I bought a book, several post cards (as I am an architecture aficionado), and buttons saying "Remember" and "Never Again."

Workers Of The World Unite ... But Don't Eat!

I've seen some ridiculous justifications for firing employees in the past ... but this one takes the cake. Or, more precisely, the pizza: this guy was fired for eating cold leftover pizza at his office!

What's more ... he was fired a month after it happened.

At least he won the Simply Fired contest for the most outrageous layoff story.

Sunday, September 4

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

At one point this morning, on the third floor of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, I didn't know if I was going to throw up or break down crying.

That's about all I can write right now about the experience.

Shul Thing

Britt and I went to shul Friday night. I insisted that we go: It just felt like the right thing to do, after Katrina, and I was hoping to get a little perspective.

I'm still a little distraught about Katrina. Forgive me if my writing seems clunky or my thoughts disjointed. My brain just can't digest all the news. And I feel guilty about not being able to absorb the enormity of what has happened, because I have the luxury of being able to distract myself from the news, while so many other people can't escape Katrina's aftermath -- and will never be able to escape Katrina's aftermath.

Back to Friday night: Rabbi Birnholz (who used to be a cowboy!) delivered a passionate sermon about the hurricane. He said the Biblical story of Noah and the flood was a straightforward account of G-d washing away the evils of society, but Katrina was a more complicated matter, exposing evil but not eradicating it. The aftermath of Katrina reveals what Americans have been hiding or ignoring for too long: racial disparities, negligence of the poor, failure to recognize and address major infrastructure problems, and botched national priorities. What kind of society would build countless football stadiums but not strengthen its levees, he asked.

I'm not doing Rabbi Birnholz's sermon justice here (which frustrates me greatly because, after all, because I'm a professional writer). After the service, I asked the Rabbi if he could publish it on the synagogue's Web site or in the newsletter. When he does, I'll be sharing it with everyone.

Today is Britt's and my second day in Washington, D.C. We are going to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum this morning. I expect it will be an utterly dreadful, painful and extremely important experience.

Saturday, September 3

The Daily Dave in D.C.

Greetings from our nation's capital -- specifically, from a Starbucks at the intersection of Dupont Circle and Connecticut Avenue.

A Washington haiku:

Give me liberty
Or give me death. No wait --
Just liberty, please.

Friday, September 2

New Orleans Equation

"Oh my G-d!" + "What the fuck?" - all irony = how I feel right now.

The Few, The Proud, The Insomniacs

What's that old Marines slogan -- they do more before 6 a.m. than most people do in an entire day? Well, I woke up at 3:30 a.m. this morning, couldn't fall back to sleep, and found myself being very productive. Perhaps insomnia is the path to success and riches.

The most amazing thing to happen to me before 6 a.m.? I encountered an endangered species: an actual music video on MTV. How astonishing! I thought that MTV did away with all the music to make room for shows like Pimp my Punk'd Cribs. The video I saw was for some Dave Matthews Band song. Julia Roberts, of all people, was in it. I watched the few few seconds of the next video, but changed the channel as soon as I realized it was a Mariah Carey song.

In Today's Tribune

Here's my 50-inch omnibus Katrina-Economy story:

"Economically, Florida Should Survive Storm's Fury."

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 31

Another Tampa Evening

Mother Nature daubs the sky with blue, orange and lavender, blessing us with another perfect Tampa sunset. The pink comes from a neon sign outside a strip club on North Dale Mabry Boulevard.

The Salt And Pepper Shakers Are Shaped Like Ghosts

At J. Alexander's, the sugar packet holder bears a striking resemblance to Pac Man:



Why Is Dr. Shirley So Happy Today?



I think it's because hockey magazines are returning to the magazine racks after a two-year hiatus.

Tuesday, August 30

Paging M.C. Escher

Random stairwell cameraphone picture:

Pure Evil

In case you wanted more proof that large flightless birds are PURE EVIL, check out this story about an ostrich (evil!) snarling up traffic in San Francisco. (Also: here.)

Oh, sure, some might think that the bird is innocent, a victim of circumstance. But the ostrich knew what it was doing. It is, after all, EVIL!

Monday, August 29

Achy Breaky Stomach

I think I have a stomach bug. I'm staying home today. I think it's best for everyone, especially since my desk at the office is not near the bathroom.

On an unrelated note, here's what I would look like if I were a bear:

Sunday, August 28

Really Simple Syndication

If you know how to subscribe to an RSS feed, you can get the Daily Dave 2.0 at the following address:

http://dailydave2.blogspot.com/atom.xml

Enjoy!

No Comment

Here at the Daily Dave 2.0, where we don't express an opinion on any issue that might upset our corporate overlords, I won't share my views about the following story, "Anti-gay church protests at soldiers’ funerals," on MSNBC.com.

Nope. Not a peep out of me.

... And In Today's Chupacabra News

Can this be true? Has a Houston-area farmer succeeded where so many others have failed, proving the existence of the mythical goat-sucking, chicken-killing creature, the chupacabra? And, if so, will I be forced to reconsider my beliefs about aliens, angels, ghosts, Bigfoot, the Abominable Snowman, and the Loch Ness Monster?

Answers: probably not, hardly likely, and no. Except for the Loch Ness Monster. We all know he's real. Consider the following exchange from "Napoleon Dynamite":

Teacher: Your current event, Napoleon.
Napoleon Dynamite: Last week, Japanese scientists explaced ... placed explosive detonators at the bottom of Lake Loch Ness to blow Nessie out of the water. Sir Godfrey of the Nessie Alliance summoned the help of Scotland's local wizards to cast a protective spell over the lake and its local residents and all those who seek for the peaceful existence of our underwater ally.

Katrina

A few days ago, Katrina looked like a lamb that would drop a few inches of rain on both coast of Florida. Now it's a category 5 killer that's going to decimate part of the gulf coast -- most likely New Orleans, according to everything I've seen on the Weather Channel.

The entire experience makes me feel a little relieved (because the hurricane isn't coming near Tampa), guilty (because I know lots of people are going to be hurt by Katrina, and I'm not one of them), and futile (because it's just another reminder that Mother Nature is something humans can't control or predict).

The song "Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season," by Jimmy Buffett, is stuck in my head.

The chorus:

And now I must confess, I could use some rest
I can't run at this pace very long
Yes it's quite insane, I think it hurts my brain
But it cleans me out and then I can go on

A, B, C, D...

August isn't even over yet -- and we're already up to the K's on this year's list of storm names.

What happens if we run out of alphabet before we run out of hurricanes in 2005?

Saturday, August 27

I Come (Back) From A Land Down Under

If you haven't seen them yet, my photos from Australia and New Zealand are now online.

Here are a few pictures:





Either Way, I Don't Want To See The Film (Or Buy The Soundtrack)

At the movie theater today, the Movie Tunes announcer told us that Lindsay Lohan's new song comes from the "Herpes Fully Loaded" soundtrack.

Maybe he said "Herbie Fully Loaded."

I wasn't listening too closely.

Elephants In The Skies

Can you spot the elephant in the clouds?



I saw this just before sunset at Dale Mabry and I-275, looking west.

Yawn

Been kind of quiet around here lately, hasn't it?

Friday, July 1

Happy Birthday To Me

Britt bought me a birthday dinner at Roy's, a fancy Hawaiian-Japanese fusion restaurant. Here's a look at dessert:



Going, going, gone ...

Sunday, June 26

Friday, June 24

Two Thousand Words

I got a new camera last night, a tiny little 5-megapixel baby from Canon. Here are some of my first photos:



Monday, June 20

Me Is Smart

I'm sure I would have done better if I had a pencil and some paper:

Your IQ Is 125

Your Logical Intelligence is Above Average
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius
Your General Knowledge is Exceptional

Thursday, June 16

Say It Ain't 'Nazo, Joe!

Most of the business team and some of our Baylife pals headed to Taconazo for lunch today, where we sacrificed air conditioning for salsa and sombreros. I'm sure Jeff Houck, the officials photographer of Taconazo, will have lots of photos with clever cutlines posted soon at Side Salad soon, but here's a preview:



That's me in the background, with the Virgin Mary towel exploding out of my head.



No fiesta is complete until El Capitan arrives.

Someone Skipped Direct Marketing 101

Got home this afternoon to find the following offer in the mailbox:



A waste of a perfectly good stamp, don't you think?

Saturday, June 4

Mile High Book Club

Books I have seen people reading today on airplanes:

-- "The Kite Runner"
-- "The Complete Yes Prime Minister"
-- "Learning to Speak Alzheimer's"
-- "In Her Shoes" by Jennifer Weiner

Saturday, May 21

Today's Haiku

Actually, I wrote this one yesterday:

Oh Saddam Hussein:
I LOVE those tighty whiteys!
As Paris says: HOT!

Friday, May 13

Britt Is In The Netherlands

"Ik mis u, Ik houd van u, Ik houd ook van olifanten," is Dutch for "I miss you, I love you, and I love the elephants too."

Friday, May 6

Haiku For Today

The list of people
Who deserve to be bitch-slapped
Grows ever longer.

If you can't say it
In seventeen syllables
It's not worth saying.

Tongue-in-cheek

Look up "blog" in Mac OS X 10.4's dictionary and here's what you get:

blog |bläg|
noun a weblog : blogs run by twenty-something Americans with at least an unhealthy interest in computers.

verb ( blogged, blogging) [ intrans. ]
add new material to or regularly update a weblog.

DERIVATIVES blogger noun
ORIGIN shortening.

Monday, May 2

You're Kidding Me!

Britt and I just ordered pizza from a well-known pizza delivery chain. Get this -- they're charging for delivery!

What's next? Paying extra for salad dressing in restaurants?

It's the end of the world as I know it, and I feel fined.

Saturday, April 9

Time Keeps On Slippin'

Been a while since I posted anything new. C'est la vie.

Monday, March 7

Long Island

Photos from our recent trip to Long Island are now online. Enjoy!

Friday, March 4

Snow!

Snow: It's everywhere on Long Island, but it's not pretty. It's a lot of black slushy stuff on the side of the road. Yuck.

Famous People I Have Met

For no particular reason, in no particular order:

Bishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu
President Jimmy Carter
President Bill Clinton
Margaret Cho
Sophie B. Hawkins
Donald Trump
Ted Allen
David Brock
Linda Ellerbee
Steve Kmetko
Barney Frank
Billy Bean
Hildi Santo Tomas

Sunday, February 20

Wedding Bells Are Ringing

Now I know where Britt and I will tie the knot.

Wednesday, February 9

No Comment

The new and improved (and castrated) Daily Dave would never offer its opinion on this report.

Saturday, February 5

Ummmm, okay ...

Following a link on Clay McCuistion's Web site, I have discovered that I am like an .html file. Actually, I have discovered that I have a bit too much free time on my hands, and that I probably should show a bit more discretion when it comes to clicking on things on Clay's site.

You are .html You are versatile and improving, but you do have your limits.  When you work with amateurs it can get quite ugly.
Which File Extension are You?