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:


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!


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."