Wednesday, November 29

Happy Birthday, Dale

Dale Hokrein turned 42 yesterday, and Mary Shedden made sure everyone in the newsroom knew about it. Mary, as you may remember, found her face plastered all over the newsroom earlier this month when she turned 40, and Dale was one of the people responsible for the poster blitz.

Mary's payback gift: a massive display mocking Dale about his missing middle name -- no, really, he doesn't have one -- and a newsroom-wide contest asking people to help select one for him.

I had several suggestions, including Dale "El Elegante" Hokrein, which is a tribute to Dale's Latin roots, Dale "Evans" Hokrein, for obvious reasons, and Dale "Umberto" Hokrein, purely for the intials. I think Dale "Riffic" Hokrein got the most votes. There were a handful of write-in candidates, according to Mary, according to Dale "Buttercup" Hokrein (which I contributed), Dale "Mabry" Hokrein, which refers to a Tampa thoroughfare, and Dale "Chip" Hokrein, which refers to two lesser-known Disney rodents.

Mary decorated the signs with baby-faced (yet, strangely, bearded) pictures of the birthday boy himself. Take a look:

Dale's birthday sign
Dale on display

A close-up

Upon seeing the signage, Dale hams it up

What's a birthday without cake?

Tuesday, November 28

Today's Memo: San Antonio

To: San Antonio
From: Dave
Date: November 28
Subject: Riverwalk Parade

Congratulations on your twinkly lights! They were quite festive. Also, thank you for the spectacular boat parade. Such lengthy delays between each float -- how innovative and entertaining!

Breaking The News

As you may have read in an earlier posting, I'm going to be an uncle.

Lee and Michon delivered the news on Thanksgiving day in a way I'll never forget. He asked my parents and Michon's parents to line up for a photograph. Just before clicking the shutter button, he announced, "Michon's pregnant!"

Here's the photo:

Gayle, Jim, Mom and Dad

As you can see, only my mother believed Lee. So Lee told everyone again, and added that he wasn't kidding. Then he snapped another picture:

Gayle, Jim, Mom and Dad ... part 2

Everyone is elated and, of course, Britt and I are thrilled for Michon and Lee. This niece or nephew will not want for stuffed elephant toys!

Lee, thanks for finding a creative way to share the news. Now we'll all always have this photo to remind us of such a wonderful moment.

Thursday, November 23

Thanksgiving Announcement

I'm going to be an uncle! Congratulations, Michon and Lee!

Monday, November 20

Milhouse Van Houten

This Simpsons quote is, as far as I'm concerned, without hyperbole, the absolute wittiest, funniest, most clever thing that has ever been written or uttered.

It's what Milhouse Van Houten, Bart's nerdy best friend, says despondently after his puppy-love relationship with Samantha, his first love, is broken up by Samantha's angry dad.

Pure genius. Seeing it on the SimpsonsBot (the Mac desktop widget that displays random Simpsons quotes) absolutely made my day.

Sunday, November 19

Oh Come All Ye Gay-Ful

Christmas ornaments recently seen at the mall:

Why buy one dog ornament, one rainbow flag ornament and one leather jacket ornament when you can just buy this one?

Apparently, the Village People have added another singer, and he's a mermaid. His glittery tail is frightening.

Happy Birthday, Mary

One of my favorite humans, Mary Shedden, turned 40 years old on Friday. Intrepid Tribune coworkers Dale Hokrein and Ted Jackovics posted signs all over the office, ensuring that nobody would overlook Mary's milestone. I used my cellphone camera to capture the embarrassing loving tribute.

The first sign I saw was posted inside the elevator door.

Happy birthday, Mary
Mary seems to be taking it all in stride. I think she's pretending.

Mary in the men's room
I assume this is Mary's first appearance in the men's bathroom.

Mary signage
Signs, signs, everywhere signs

Mary removes a sign in the elevator
In the elevator, on the way to lunch, Mary tears down one of her posters.

Michael Sasso demostrates the wrong way to wear a birthday hat
Michael Sasso is either (a) imitating a duck or (b) demonstrating the wrong way to wear a birthday hat.

Mary's birthday cake
Mary basks in the glow of her birthday candles. We wanted to put 40 candles on the cake, but apparently that would have violated some sort of municipal fire code.

Mike Kersmarki is in a festive mood
Mike Kersmarki is either (a) celebrating Mary's birthday or (b) preparing to celebrate the Ohio State victory that would come one day later.

Thursday, November 16

More on Britt's Birthday

Exactly how old is Britt today? I'll give you a hint ... he's somewhere between the age at which people hold their birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese, and the age at which Willard Scott wishes you a happy birthday on the "Today" show.

I hope that clears things up.

Happy Birthday, Britt!

Today is Britt's flawthy-blarth birthday. Notice how he kind of slurs when he gives his age. I'm assuming this is (A) either a sign of senility, or, (B) he's not willing to admit exactly how old he is. Come to thing of it, it's probably both.

This year I bought Britt an elephant. Sure, I've given Britt lots of elephants before, but this is the first live one:

I also got Britt a travel book and a Target gift card. My parents bought him a book about Bear Bryant and a Starbucks gift card. And my mother made Britt a beautiful, colorful quilt -- a busy patchwork of red, yellow, blue and green, so vibrant that it looks ready to explode, reined in only by a thin frame of electric blue and green fabric. It's one of the most stunning quilts my mom has made.

Happy birthday, Britt.

Monday, November 13

We're No. 1! (But Not Anymore)

What an accomplishment! For a few sweet days, Britt and I could boast of having the most write picks overall in the mighty Tampa Tribune annual football pool.

Here's the standings as they appeared before this weekend's games:

Sadly, our reign at the top of this list didn't last too long -- we fell a few notches after making a slew of bad picks this week. At least we've got this screenshot to remind us of the short period when we out-prognosticated some of the world's smartest footbal fans a bunch of other folks in my office with nothing better to do.

Rumbly In My Tummy

I spent Monday at home, thanks to what Winnie the Pooh would call a "rumbly in my tummy." Most of my time was spent sprawled out on the couch, with my MacBook resting on my stomach. This is what it looked like from the computer's point of view:

Sunday, November 5

O Captain My Captain

Capt. Randy Diamond, one of the most interesting people I have ever worked with, worked his last day at the Tribune Friday. Tomorrow morning, he'll be a staff writer for the venerable Palm Beach Post.

(Captain is an honorary title. As far as I know, Randy has never piloted any kind of watercraft.)

I snapped some photos of Randy's final days. If you know Randy, you won't be surprised to see that most of the photos relate to Randy cleaning his desk, as this is the sort of activity Randy does often.

Randy de-clutters
Randy figures out which papers to file and which ones to throw away.

This is the view from my desk.

At Randy's farewell lunch, he receives a gift from our editor, Mark Guidera.

It's a DustBuster!

The funniest thing about Randy receiving a DustBuster as a send-off gift is that the second he realized what it was, he announces that the staff at his last newspaper bought him the exact same thing.