Sunday, April 30

Alive With Flavor!

Thanks to a National Geographic Adventure cover story about that infamous 1972 plane crash in the Andes, this is an actual conversation that Britt and I had yesterday:

Dave: Do you think human flesh tastes more like beef or more like chicken?

Britt: I think it tastes like banana.

Saturday, April 29

Fishy Business

In re yesterday's fishophobic posting: this fish most definitely has eyelids.

Friday, April 28

Avoid The Green Ones -- They're Not Ripe Yet

Waiting to pick Watson up from his kitty chemo treatment this evening, I got to spend a little time with the fish in the main lobby of Florida Veterinary Specialists. It was a hypnotic experience -- although, I must admit, I'd had a long day and perhaps my brain wasn't firing on all cylinders. It's a little disconcerting to realize that you've just spent five minutes staring in a big glass box, wondering if fish have eyelids and, if so, how come I couldn't catch any of these fish blinking. A thought crossed my mind, albeit briefly: what if fish do have eyelids, and they blink just like humans do, but these fish were purposely not blinking just to mess with my head?

But why would fish do such a thing? And maybe, just maybe, did these fish somehow know about my many sad attempts at owning a fishbowl? Did they somehow sense that I was the cause for the deaths and toilet-flush funerals of so many of their brothers and sisters?

Here's what I have learned:

First, fish do not appear to have eyelids, nor do they appear to blink, but I could be wrong.

Second, fish-related paranoia is not a good thing.

Third, fish make for very nice cameraphone pictures:


On a not entirely unrelated note, two of the best fish-related lines in movie history come from the same film: "A Fish Called Wanda." The first quote, "Avoid the green ones -- they're not ripe yet," is the title of this blog post.

The second one is simply this: "Wake up, limey fish!"

"I'll Have What She's Having"

It's taken me 33 years, but I finally know how to please a woman! Apparently, you have to take her to the salad bar at in the Vaughn Center cafeteria at the University of Tampa. Here's a picture of the sign perched above the salad bar sneeze guard at lunchtime today:

I opted for the macaroni salad.

Wednesday, April 26

Don't Passover These Savings!

Ever wonder what happens to all the matzoh that hasn't been sold by the last day of Passover? Wonder no more.

Discounted matzoh at Publix

I have never seen a matzoh sale table, until now. It's just so, well, pathetic, because you know nobody but nobody is going to want to look at this stuff -- let alone buy any of it -- until next year.

Today's Simpsons Quote: Education

Skinner: So, what's the word down at One School Board Plaza?

Superintendant Chamlers: We're dropping the geography requirement. The children weren't testing well. It's proving to be an embarrassment.

Skinner: Very good. Back to the three R's.

Chalmers: Two R's, come October.

Tampa Art News

TAMPA -- Avant-garde artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude have swathed entire islands in Miami’s Biscane Bay in bright pink polypropylene plastic.

They’ve hung hundreds of sheets of pumpkin-colored fabric throughout New York’s Central Park.

And now they’re preparing to introduce the world to their latest artistic endeavor -- a project located right here in Tampa.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude previewed the work, "Wrapped Urinal II," to a handful of local art lovers and reporters Wednesday. The installation, which consists of a urinal draped in a thin, semitransparent polypropylene plastic bag, sits in the third-floor bathroom of an office building near downtown Tampa.

"Wrapped Urinal II" is the couple’s second installation in Tampa. The first, "Wrapped Urinal," was dismantled accidentally last year by maintenance workers who mistook the art for a broken bathroom fixture.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude do not discuss the meanings behind their works, but several art critics suggest that "Wrapped Urinal II" is meant to challenge the viewer’s conception of everyday items by modifying the relationship between the observer and the object. Some critics point to the similarities between "Wrapped Urinal II" and Marcel Duchamp’s famous 1917 sculpture, "Fountain," -- a white porcelain urinal, signed by the artist. In 2004, a British panel named "Fountain" the most influential work of modern art.

"Jeanne-Claude and I are happy to share our vision with the people of Tampa," Christo said. "Now your toilet is the world’s toilet."

Christo and Jeanne-Claude were here

Tuesday, April 25

Watson Says Thanks

Britt and I appreciate all the kind thoughts and messages we have received since Watson was diagnosed with lymphoma. Watson also sends his thanks.

Today is the first day that I've seen a noticeable improvement in Watson. He's wolfing down food, begging to be scratched, meowing like a kitten and jumping on the couch.

Sarah Varga, hostess of Sarah Says, wrote the following haiku:

Big fluffy kitty.
He loves tuna and needles.
Watson, a great cat.

And America's Favorite Terrier-ist Pat Kane, editor of Mr. Doodle's Dog sent us this message:

Dave and Britt, thank you for the update on Watson. I've been thinking about him and you both this weekend.

The Doodles send their best wishes for his health. We have a little ritual where we light a candle for our furry friends who need special care. So, for Watson, a friendship candle blazes this evening, along with the chile, cacti and rose lights at our Starry Night table. It's the heart of our home, and we send it to all of you. -- The Doodles

Thanks, Pat and Sarah and everyone else. We're grateful.

Sunday, April 23

Watson Update

America's Favorite Housecat Watson has been diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of cancer that is treatable but not curable.

Britt and I are very upset about Watson's illness, as you might imagine. Before we took him to the vet on Wednesday, we assumed his recent behavioral changes were the cause of something benign, like an inner ear infection. Needless to say, my parents are also upset about Watson -- they entrusted him to us before they left for Britain, and I don't think they expected anything this severe to happen to him before they returned later this year.

Watson is a very bright, lively, charismatic cat. He's also very intelligent. See how he helps Britt grade tests:

Professor Watson

Watson had his first chemotherapy treatment Friday night. Britt and I also are giving him prednisone twice a day. The vet tells us that if the chemotherapy works, there is a good chance that Watson's cancer will go into remission and he'll be able to live a happy, healthy life for some time. There's also a chance that the chemotherapy won't help him much. We know the statistics, and we are hoping for the best.

It seems a little weird to me to commit so much time and money to treating a pet for such a serious disease. It hardly seems pragmatic or practical. But when I think about how great a role Watson has played in the Simanoff family since 1990, and how much he means to my parents and my brothers and myself, the expense doesn't seem too great. Not at all.

Wednesday, April 19

The Not-So-Write Stuff

If Jackson Pollack wrote essays in the same way that he painted canvasses, he might produce sentences like the following one, which I copied out of a recent AP story:

"You are a smart guy, aren't you?" his lead lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, asked the ex-CEO known for a swaggering bravado while leading Enron's transformation from a stodgy pipeline company to an energy heavyweight in the decade before it crashed, in one of the most scandalous business failures in history.

I'm not one to knock other writers -- heaven knows how difficult it is to write something coherent on deadline -- but this particular passage deserves some scorn, don't you think? What, was there a shortage of periods that prevented the writer from splitting this big honkin' sentence into two or three shorter, straightforward sentences?

Found Him!

Found him!
Originally uploaded by Dave Sim.

I don't think Waldo is putting much effort into hiding these days.

Sunday, April 16

Family Photo Hi-jinx

Take two Simanoff brothers. Add complementary spouse Britt Shirley. Put them in front of a new iMac with a built-in iSight camera, and turn on the "mirror" effect. Here's the result:

Celebrate Easter (But Not Passover) With Peeps'mores

What a shame! I have invented a delicious new Easter candy treat, the Peeps'more, but I can't eat it now because we're smack-dab in the middle of Passover.

Peeps'mores are so delicious that I believe I should get the Nobel Prize for cookery. Here is how you make one:

First, put half of a graham cracker on a plate.

Then, add some squares from a milk chocolate Hershey bar ...

... and a delicious Easter Peep. I prefer to use the Peeps Bunnies, although I imagine it would work with a Peeps Chick as well.

Now microwave the entire thing for 15 seconds. The Peep will balloon as it cooks ...

... but it will deflate after you take it out of the oven.

Put another graham cracker square on top and you're done!


I made, photographed and enjoyed this delicious Peeps'more before Passover started. I just wanted to make this clear in case my rabbi is reading my blog.

I'm planning to stock up on discounted Peeps after Easter so that I can make lots of Peeps'mores after Passover ends.

If you enjoy the Peeps'more, hit the "Comments" link below and leave me a little feedback.

Thursday, April 13

Flickr Ransom Note

I remember that Macs used to come with a font called Ransom Note. Every letter looked like it came from a different typeface, and the overall effect was that whatever you wrote looked like individual letters cut out of a magazine or newspaper -- kind of like a ransom note, natch.

The Ransom Note font is gone, but now you can get the same effect with Flickr images. Here's what I did with the Spell With Flickr Web site.

STrain Logo CircleRoma Metro B EUR StationAN 013oxfam OFF

Cool, eh?

Wednesday, April 12

How English I Am!

According to The Guardian's "How English Are You?" quiz, those years I lived in London really rubbed off on me. Here's my score:

The epitome of Middle England, you prefer your Hovis to ciabatta and believe that England can win the cup this time round. You still feel frequent stirrings of patriotism, but deep down you know the world has moved on from the Empire and warm beer on village greens.

I am the epitome of Middle England? Who knew? I rather thought of myself as a chic progressive Londoner.

Monday, April 10

The Simpsons

Here's another brilliant quote from "The Simpsons." It seems especially poignant after today's lengthy harassment seminar at work.

Marge: Well, I'm glad you changed your name back to Homer Simpson.

Homer: Yes, I learned you gotta be yourself. Good night, honey.

Marge: Good night.

[Homer flips off the lamp, but then flips it back on]

Homer: Oh, I almost forgot. While I was at the courthouse I had them change your name.

Marge: To what?

Homer: Chesty La Rue.

Marge: Chesty La Rue?!

Homer: Just try it for two weeks! If you're not completely satisfied, you can be Busty St. Claire.

Marge: I don't want to be Chesty La Rue, or Busty St. Claire!

Homer: Fine, Hootie McBoob it is.

Marge: Good night, Homer.

[Marge reaches over and turns off the lamp]

Homer: Sleep tight, Hootie.

Marge: Let go of those!

-- from the episode "Homer to the Max."