Monday, December 31

Speed Racer

Here I am in the driver's seat of a brand new Cobra. It is a handmade 450-horsepower replica of the original 1960s race car and, yes, it is just as awesome as it looks.

Dave in the Cobra

This is, believe it or not, part of my job. You are right to be jealous of me.

That is all.

Saturday, December 29

It's What Gargamel Would Have Wanted

On the menu at Champps (yes, that's how it's spelled), this drink is called the Rockstar Martini:

Smurf-colored martini

I would have named it the Liquid Smurf.

Another Modest Holiday Message From Dave

In the spirit of my previous holiday missive, I offer the following message:


Keep the Michelle KWAN in KWANZAA


(From the giving-credit-where-credit-is-due-department: The photo of Michelle Kwan competing at the 2002 Grand Prix in Kitchener, Ontario, comes from the Wikimedia Commons and is shared under a Creative Commons license.)

That is all.

Friday, December 28

Foodstuffs I Never Expected To See

I saw this in the freezer case at Walgreens yesterday evening:

Dwight Yaokam's Chicken Rings Afire

It is only a matter of time before we're subjected to Lyle Lovett's Jalapeño Poppers, I suppose.

That is all.

A Programming Note

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I've been sleeping in -- BECAUSE I CAN!

Tuesday, December 25

Miracle On John F. Kennedy Boulevard

This is the first Christmas Day in a long time that I didn't step foot inside my office, a Chinese restaurant or a movie theater.

For a nice Jewish boy, that's quite an accomplishment.

Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley (the shaygetz) and I exchanged gifts first thing in the morning. Britt made cinnamon rolls. Then we chatted online with my parents in London.

At 10 a.m., we joined other members of our synagogue to help set up a holiday lunch for less fortunate families at a church in the Town 'N' Country neighborhood. A lot of people turned out to help, actually, so Britt and I left a little early. I felt we were getting in the way.

I took a little nap, and Britt began cooking a Christmas dinner. He made some things that his mother used to make: roast beef, baked macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes. Britt roused me from my nap a little after 2 p.m. I could smell the delicious aromas as I headed down the staircase. Everything was delicious. I constructed tiny sandwiches out of the roast beef and biscuits -- my father, who considers sandwiches as both an art form and a philosophy, would be most proud.

After I had cleared the table and put away the leftovers, Britt and I curled up on the couch and watched the second half of "Miracle on 34th Street," which was playing on channel two-hundred-and-something-or-other on DirecTV. I hadn't seen this film in ages, and I had forgotten how satisfying it feels to watch the courtroom denouement scene.


Britt and I also saw an old Saturday Night Live Christmas special, which I had TiVo'ed a few days ago. After watching the saccharine ending of one Christmas movie, it was refreshing to see the finale to another classic get skewered:


My favorite sketch, though, was the "Delicious Dish" segment featuring Alec Baldwin. I have no idea how the actors didn't just break out laughing as they performed this:


Britt and I concluded Christmas Day with some dessert and, regrettably, "Deal or No Deal." Tomorrow, I'm headed back to work -- but I'll be filled with Christmas cheer!

Well, at least I'll be filled with Christmas foodstuffs.

Seriously, I might need to wear a tracksuit. Or worse. Do they make muumuus for men?

Monday, December 24

We Are The Hyde Park Village People Our Parents Warned Us About

Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley and I strolled around Old Hyde Park Village Saturday afternoon. We didn't need to buy anything, but we didn't have anything else to do -- and didn't want to become attached to the teevee.

Here's what we saw.

Stadium Bundt Pan at Williams-Sonoma
I wish I owned (a) this stadium-shaped bundt pan from Williams-Sonoma, (b) the talent and the desire to make and decorate bundt cakes.

Beehive Bundt Cake Pan
It's what everyone's been asking for -- a bundt cake pan in the shape of New Zealand's parliament building!

Penn State football guys
This bucket of miniature Penn State football players contains a life-sized Joe Paterno.

Pottery Barn anagrams
The Pottery Barn employees probably shouldn't leave the "Peace, Wish, Joy" stocking-holder letters just sitting out, unattended. Any idiot could come along, rearrange them, and take a picture with his cell phone. Kind of like this.

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be A 1950s Housewife
If your daughter (or son) has been hinting that she (or he) wants to be a 1950s housewife when she (or he) grows up, Pottery Barn Kids has a set of toys to sell you!

I'm Dreaming Of A White Four Questions

Q. What is Dave wearing today?
A. Dave is wearing a blue dress shirt, a black tie with a light gray-and-white pattern, and a pair of jeans. He has a sports jacket in his car. When he tapes the business report for teevee later today, no one will see the jeans.

Q. How does Dave feel today?
A. Dave (who is Jewish) is looking forward to spending Christmas Day with complementary Spouse Britt Shirley (who is Christian).

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood today?
A. Dave, who usually volunteers to work Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, decided this year to spend the entire holiday with Britt.

Q. What do Britt and Dave have planned?
A. There will be gifts and food, apparently. Through the synagogue, Dave has also enlisted himself and Britt as volunteers to help provide Christmas dinners to some less fortunate families.

All Your Tattoo Are Belong To Us

For the second time this month, I have walked up to a complete stranger in a store and asked for permission to take a picture of his tattoos.

The previous time, as you may recall, it was because I was impressed by the chain of elephants marching around a guy's forearms. This time, I couldn't help noticing characters from every single classic arcade game -- in all their pixelated glory -- circling some guy's upper arms.

Arcade tattoos

Sunday, December 23

An Advertising Campaign That Ticks Me Off? Priceless

I have always enjoyed MasterCard's "Priceless" teevee advertisements, which show viewers the the price tags for a handful of items (purchased, presumably, and then reveal the true value that comes from using those items: more time with one's children, traveling to new places, and so on.

The message is that MasterCard allows you to buy the things that allows you to have priceless experiences. (Yes, the ads aren't perfect: they can be somewhat schmaltzy, and they don't do a very good job of differentiating MasterCard from other payment methods.)

I am not enjoying the latest iteration of the "Priceless" campaign, the "Priceless Pep Talks" ads featuring Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (whom, I suspect, is now required by law to be featured in at least one out of every three ads appearing during football games).

In each "Priceless Pep Talks" ad, Manning squints into the camera and says something sarcastic.

In one, for example, Manning suggests men should just concede that they'll never have six-pack abs unless they're young or professional athletes like him. In another, Manning mocks men who drive minivans, and then recommends those drivers paint his jersey number and flames on the sides of their vehicles.

There are other "Priceless Pep Talks" spots, and they're all dreck.

I can't imagine what the point of the advertising campaign might be, unless there was a contest on Madison Avenue to see which advertising agency could put Peyton Manning in the most inane commercials. If that's the case, I don't quite know who the winner is, but it certainly isn't MasterCard.

That is all.

My Modest Holiday Message

Here's my response to some of the holiday signs I saw yesterday:

Keep the Han in Hanukkah (Updated)
Keep the HAN in HANUKKAH!

That is all.

Friday, December 21

Return Of The Mac Poseur

He has returned!

The Mac Poseur (first mentioned here, and later described here) has just plunked himself down in one of the overstuffed green chairs here in Starbucks and flipped open his notebook computer -- a Dell computer with an Apple sticker covering covering the logo.

As Daily Dave readers know, this guy (whom I have never met, or spoken to, or know anything about) ticks me off. Who does he think he's fooling? Why does he care that other people in Starbucks think he's using a Mac, not a Dell? Would anyone with a Mac notebook ever slap a Dell sticker on it?

Of course, common sense dictates that you shouldn't take pictures of complete strangers without their permission. However, I've already broken that rule this year, so I figured one more surreptitious snapshot with my cameraphone wouldn't hurt.

It's the Mac Poseur! (Identity protected)

Here are some things you might notice from the Mac Poseur photo:

-- He appears to be talking on an iPhone. It might be a Motorola phone decorated with an apple sticker.
-- He appears to have a Louis Vuitton bag. This might be a Jansport backpack, plastered with Louis Vuitton stickers.
-- He has not purchased anything from Starbucks: the empty cup was there before he sat down. This makes it impossible for me to make a joke such as: "He appears to have a venti latte. This might be a tap water, poured into a venti Starbucks cup and dyed to look like a latte."

Perhaps this picture will be the first step in helping scientists and sociologists study the enigma of the Mac Poseur. Perhaps he can be sedated, fitted with some kind of tracking collar, and released back into the wild, so that we can follow his migratory and mating habits.

We Love To Fly And It Shows

At some point today, every member of the Simanoff family (including Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley, who insists upon keeping his maiden name) will be airborne.

The only exceptions: my father and me.

This confirms something that I have always suspected: My father and I are the most grounded people in our family.

(C'mon! I'm an English major! You can't begrudge me my puns!)

Congratulations to Ryland Simanoff, the World's Cutest Baby, who is taking his first flight today. Globetrotting uncle Britt is elated that Ryland is earning frequent flyer miles for the flight.

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like The Four Questions

Q. What is Dave wearing today?
A. Right now, Dave is wearing brown pants, a blue dress shirt, and a very nice blue tie with a very handsome geometric pattern. You'd like it. Really, you would.

Q. How does Dave feel today?
A. Dave feels very embarrassed.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood today?
A. Dave had to run a correction in the newspaper yesterday. He misspelled a name in a story that ran Wednesday. It was his first correction since Monday, April 3, 2006 -- that's 626 days, or 1 year, 8 months, and 17 days, if you're counting. Dave would like to think of himself as a very accurate reporter. He always makes a concerted effort to spell people's names properly. He knows that mistakes like this, no matter how small they might seem in the grand scheme of journalistic foul-ups, are still embarrassing and reflect poorly upon him.

Q. Does Dave actually feel that bad about misspelling someone's name, or is he being sarcastic again?
A. Dave is being genuine. Don't get too used to it, though. Dave only feels repentant when he's made mistakes in his professional writing. If he has a fwe typos on teh Daily Dave, don't epxpect any mea culpas.

Thursday, December 20

Ryland Is Getting A New Uncle

The Cutest Baby in the World, Ryland Simanoff, is getting another uncle.

Ryland's aunt Lindsey (Michon's sister) got engaged to her boyfriend Jessup last weekend.

Here's a picture I took of Lee and Michon (Ryland's dad and mom) and Lindsey and Jessup (Ryland's aunt and soon-to-be-uncle) at Thanksgiving last year:

Lee, Michon, Lindsey and Jessup

Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley and I say congratulations and mazel tov to our -- hmmm, how exactly would they be connected to us? In-laws, twice removed, perhaps?

Electric Light Parade ... On Water

Here's a video showing what Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley and I did this weekend, before my cold symptoms got too miserable.


If you've got a speedy Internet connection, you'll find a higher quality version of the video here, on my .Mac gallery page.

Ten Things That Have Entertained Me In 2007

Presented for no particular reason, and presented in no particular order.

1. "The Simpsons Movie"

It's a gift from the comedy gods. I saw it in the theater more times than I care to confess. Now that it's out on DVD, I am worried about wearing out the disc.

2. The Dresden Dolls

Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley and I discovered this band on the True Colors tour in Dallas. In an earlier blog post, I wrote: "If I had to describe this Boston-based duo in just a few words, I'd say they remind me of Tori Amos, but with a sense of humor. They describe themselves as Brechtian punk cabaret, which is a concept so bizarre and painfully obtuse that it just makes me admire them more."

If you're not immediately hooked on the Dresden Dolls after hearing their music, you will be after seeing this video for "Shores of California" -- a nearly flawless shot-for-shot shout-out to David Lee Roth's video for "Californian Girls":


3. The "Here It Goes Again" video by OK Go

This is the most brilliant bit of choreography I have seen in a long time. The song is great too.


4. "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon

I am insanely jealous that I did not write this novel.

5. "Back to Black," by Amy Winehouse

After hearing "Rehab" a few times on Sirius radio, I grabbed this CD for £10 -- nearly $18 at the time -- in the International departures hall at Heathrow in March, as Britt and I were making our way back from Central Europe. I didn't mind paying the huge mark-up because I knew the album wasn't available in the United States. What I didn't know is that the album would be released in the States one week after we returned. In fact, Best Buy had it for $7.99.

6. "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"

Each of the characters on this show make Eric Cartman look like Mother Theresa. There's not a single redeeming quality to be found among the lot of them!



7. "Ratatouille"

Storytelling genius. Even though I adore everything about this movie, I'm not sure it has made me any more enamored of French cuisine. Also, I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a McDonald's tie-in. I mean, c'mon, how much fun would that have been!

8. "Hairspray"

I dare anyone to sit through this movie and not smile when it's over. I still have mixed feelings about John Travolta stepping into Divine's divine shoes, but I can't deny I enjoyed it when Travolta paid homage to "Pulp Fiction" with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it hand gesture. And speaking of blink-and-you'll-miss-it moments, I loved John Waters' cameo.

9. "300"

Actually, I kind of liked it. Sure, it managed to be both homophobic and homoerotic -- but, visually, it was stunning. It brought the two-dimensional art of graphic novels to life.

10. "Torchwood" on BBC America

Here's what I wrote earlier this year, after seeing the first episode: "I finally saw the premiere of "Torchwood" on BBC America today. The show appears to be a hybrid of "Doctor Who" and "Men in Black." I can't figure out why the lead character is an American, but I was delighted to see the series is set in Cardiff. In fact, the Torchwood team -- the top-secret group that hunts down aliens -- has its headquarters underneath Mermaid Quay and the Wales Millennium Centre, just a two-minute walk from where my parents lived last year."

The Four Questions -- Now With Less Phlegm!

Q. What is Dave wearing today?
A. Right now, Dave is wearing chinos and a black polo shirt. He's also wearing a blue-and-yellow rugby shirt (borrowed from Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley's closet) to stay warm. It's not as heavy as a sweater, which is good, as it's not really sweater weather here in Florida.

Q. How does Dave feel today?
A. Dave feels much better today than he did earlier this week. Thank you for asking.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood today?
A. Dave is still suffering from some mucus-related issues, which he would rather not describe. He also is coughing every now and then. For the most part, though, he is on the mend.

Q. How does Dave know he truly is recuperating?
A. Dave is blogging again. He says that should be proof enough for the likes of you.

Monday, December 17

The COUGH! Four Questions

Q. What is Dave wearing today?
A. Right now, Dave is wearing sweatpants and a long-sleeve t-shirt. He's at home, sitting up in bed, and trying not to cough on the computer screen.

Q. How does Dave feel today?
A. Dave would like to know if "phlegmtrocious" is a word.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood today?
A. Dave is suffering from a Whitman's Sampler of cold symptoms: congestion, coughing, nausea, aches. He left work a little early today. Dave is fairly certain he doesn't have the flu, as he doesn't have a fever.

Q. What is Dave doing to treat his cold?
A. Dave is taking Sudafed, Mucinex, soup and Twizzlers.

I Like It When My Holiday Packages Are Wrapped Nicely

I just stumbled across this Saturday Night Live gem on Hulu.com, the new online video service that's being tested out by NBC and Fox.


I wish I had seen this earlier because, as I may have mentioned, I was struggling for gift ideas. Alas, Hanukkah is over. Perhaps this video will come in time to help out some of you last-minute Christmas shoppers.

Sunday, December 16

History In The Making

Breaking news: A Bucs player named Michael Spurlock, who wasn't very well known just a few minutes ago, has just returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

This is huge. This is momentous. This signals the end of a long and embarrassing streak for Tampa Bay Buccanneers fans. Never will I have to hear a sports announcer mention that dumb no-kickoff-return-for-touchdown-in-franchise-history statistic again.

The first Bucs kickoff return in history

Ring the bells and fire the cannons!

Friday, December 14

A Programming Note

Sorry for the lack of posts. I've been feeling a little under the weather. I'm sure I'll be back to my regular routine of writing lengthy missives about, well, nothing of significance.

Wednesday, December 12

Don't Treyf This At Home

Here's a photograph of the infamous "Delicious for Chanukah" ham that was being sold by a trendy grocery store in Manhattan:

Delicious Hanukkah Ham

Walt Belcher, a fellow Tribunaut, forwarded the picture to me. I don't know who took the original photo.

Reformed Sourpuss Doug Stanley was the first person to point out the story to me.

I still can't believe this sort of mix-up happened in the middle of Manhattan. I can't wait to see what sort of promotion they have for Yom Kippur -- some kind of all-you-can-eat brunch, perhaps?

Fee Fi Fo Fum Four Questions

I smell the blood of an Englishman.

Q. What is Dave wearing today?
A. Dave is wearing a maroon polo shirt and tan chinos.

Q. How does Dave feel today?
A. Dave feels sluggish?

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood today?
A. Dave has been neglecting his diet, so he's feeling a little blubbery, like a chubby cetacean.

Q. Doesn't Dave know that comparing himself to a whale just reinforces a pattern of negative self-deprecating images?
A. Dave will address that question right after breakfast. He's out catching krill.

Alvin, Simon and Theology

I am absolutely appalled that Hollywood would release a children's film (a KID'S FILM!) right in the middle of the holiday season (HANUKKAH and CHRISTMAS) that makes people question their belief in a kind and loving G-d.

I refer, of course, to "Alvin and the Chipmunks."

The mere fact that this film got made makes me wonder if G-d exists. The previews and TV commercials I've been forced to endure are proof, I believe, that G-d does not care about our suffering.

If you know what's good for you, you'll steer clear of that damn rodent movie this weekend. Instead, go see that nice film about the girl with the compass and the polar bear friends. I saw it last weekend and it was quite interesting.

(A tangent: Someone recently confessed to me that he kind of liked the Alvin & the Chipmunks, and their Christmas song in particular. I asked what the hell a chipmunk would do if it actually received a hula hoop as a present. It would be much too big for the chipmunk to actually use: a chipmunk is about the size of a squirrel, you see, and a hula hoop is about three feet in diameter.)

Around The World In 365 Days, Yet Again

Want to travel around the world with Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley and me?

Of course you do! Everybody does!

Well now you can -- without the added hassle of renewing your passport, buying plane tickets, or hearing us run through our it-would-be-funny-if-it-weren't-so-damn-predictable "so, we've just seen that castle/museum/cathedral -- what do you want to do next?" routine.

Just click here for this year's Britt & Dave Travelmovie:


This embedded video is a little small and the quality is somewhat choppy. If you've got a peppy Internet connection, you should click here to see a larger version of the movie on my .Mac gallery.

Happy watching, and happy travels!

Tuesday, December 11

Everyone Loves The Four Questions

Q. What is Dave wearing today?
A. Dave is wearing a pink dress shirt with a red tie, a pair of olive drab pants, and a blue sports jacket.

Q. How does Dave feel today?
A. Dave needs more caffeine and barbecue. He wonders why Starbucks has not invented the barbecue chicken latte yet.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood today?
A. Dave is lamenting the fact that tonight is the last night for lighting Hanukkah candles. This is sad, because it means an entire year must pass before the candles are lit and the prayers are said again. It is also sad because it means Dave must now clean all that damn wax off the menorah.

Q. What's the best way to clean wax off a menorah?
A. If there's a good way to clean wax off a menorah, Dave doesn't know it. He has tried hot water, a blunt knife, a sharp knife -- even sticking the menorah in the freezer. Nothing seems to work.

Digital Hanukkah

In case you haven't figured it out from the previous few posts, Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley and I visited my mom this weekend in Huntsville.

It was a last-minute trip. My mom was originally supposed to fly to London Friday to visit my father, but had to postpone that trip. Britt and I flew into Birmingham Friday night, rented a car, and got to Huntsville shortly before midnight.

We left Huntsville Sunday afternoon and were home in Tampa before 9 p.m.

The best part of the trip is that, for the first time in ages, most of my family was able to light the Hanukkah candles together. My dad was still in London and unable to participate because of the time difference, but Lee, Michon and Ryland (in Jacksonville) were able to join my mother, Britt and me through a video chat.

It was very cool. Afterwards we sat around the notebook computers and caught up with the World's Cutest Baby, who now has gotten his first tooth (and is getting his second).

iSight Hanukkah screengrab


This little computer I schlep around lets me do a lot of things: e-mail messages, little movies, this blog, and so on. But the most important thing it's done so far has been to let me light the Hanukkah candles for the first time in a long time with my little brother -- and to light the candles for the first time ever with my nephew.

It Wasn't Hell, But There Were Sno-Balls

I have written previously about my frustrations in finding Hostess Sno-Balls in Tampa.

Well, Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley and I have discovered, at long last, where to find Sno-Balls. They're at a gas station in Hanceville, Ala., which is located about halfway between Birmingham and Huntsville. We stopped there to buy something to drink Friday night on our way to visit my mom.

Apparently, Sno-Balls are white now. I remember them being pink, like little Angora sweater snack cakes.

Britt and I purchased four packages of Sno-Balls, which delighted my Mom. We made them our Hanukkah treat Saturday night. Alas, they did not last eight nights.

Our festive Hanukkah Sno-Balls
Our festive Hanukkah Sno-Balls -- just like the Maccabees ate!

Hostess Sno-Balls
Are the Sno-Balls white because it's the holidays, or because we're in Alabama? Discuss.


Oh, one more thing: In my last post about Sno-Balls, I wrote that I had become so frustrated that I lashed out at Britt and shouted "Who do I have to fuck in this town to get a Sno-Ball?"

It turns out that geography, not sexual favors, were the issue.

But let me tell you this: based on the people I saw during my limited stay in Hanceville (the toothless cashier, the giant bearded man in overalls who probably is named Jasper or Cletus), I am now seriously rethinking how far I would go in my pursuit of a Sno-Ball.

Monday, December 10

Four Questions in Dreamland

Mmmmmmmmm.

Q. What is Dave wearing today?
A. Dave is wearing a blue dress shirt, a blue-and-white tie, and a pair of dark brown pants. Yesterday, he wore a blue sweatshirt and a pair of jeans that smelled like the Dreamland Barbecue in Huntsville, Ala. It's where he, Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley and America's Favorite Mom had lunch. Dave kept sniffing his sweatshirt all afternoon. He thinks Dreamland should sell cologne.

Q. How does Dave feel today?
A. Dave wishes he were eating more Dreamland barbecue.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood today?
A. Dave is disappointed none of his clothes smell smoky, tangy nor sweet.

Q. What's the deal with this Dreamland place anyway?
A. The original Dreamland Barbecue is in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Britt ate there when he was in college, at the University of We-Lost-Badly-Louisiana-Monroe. No, wait, that's not the correct name. I think the school is called the University of Nick-Saban-Apologists. Anyway, Dreamland became famous for its delicious food and its severely limited menu: ribs, white bread, Coke, Sprite. That was all. Now there are just a handful of locations, including Huntsville, and thankfully the menu is a little longer, although it still fits on one side of an index card.

Now Dave will break out of the third-person Four Questions format to present some Dreamland photos:

Outside the Dreamland in Huntsville
Outside the Dreamland. Notice my thumb?

White bread, barbecue sauce and styrofoam plates
White bread and barbecue sauce, served on styrofoam plates: the hallmarks of fine dining

Dreamland bbq
Is this an order or a suggestion? Or does the "No" part of the sign switch on and off, like on a "No vacancy" sign in front of a motel?

1209071115.jpg
My barbecue chicken sandwich

1209071137.jpg
The barbecue area. If you could smell this picture, you'd be drooling on your keyboard now.

Alabama, Tagged

You know you're in rural Alabama when you and your complementary spouse pull into a gas station to buy something to drink, as Britt and I did yesterday afternoon on our way from my parents' house in Huntsville to the airport in Birmingham, and encounter a rotating rack of license plates like these for sale:

Alabama gas station license plates

My favorites were the matching his-and-hers John Deere plates:

Matching his-and-hers John Deere license plates

Thinking back, I wish I bought the John Deere license plates. They would come in handy if my parents ever sell their cars and buy tractors.

Friday, December 7

Today's Memo: Bizarristas

To: The employees at the Starbucks at Airside C at Tampa International Airport
From: Dave
Date: Friday, Dec. 7
Subject: Basic Training

First, I had to explain how to write down the order for the drink I wanted because none of you could get it right:

Starbucks scribble

Then, after several minutes of waiting -- and seeing everyone receive their order but me -- I had to actually explain to all of you how to make my drink.

And, finally, once I got my drink, plunged in the green straw and took a sip, I realized that it was made wrong.

Three strikes. You're out.

P.S. I refuse to use the word "baristas," for it is a silly, made-up word and I don't like it.

I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, Part V

Here's another gem from the Skymall catalogue (now online for your shopping pleasure):

Sisyphus desk art screengrab

As far as I can tell, this is supposed to be a motivational desk accessory. It's sold by the same company that makes the posters that brandish words like "teamwork" and "pride" across pictures of eagles and rowers and such.

There's one problem with this nice little piece of desk art. It depicts Sisyphus, the mythological Greek king who must push a boulder up a hill, and watch it fall back down, over and over again for all eternity.

It that's not the least motivating thought ever, I don't know what is!

Please add this item to my lengthy list of things I do not want.

I Won't Take This Sitting Down

Here's another awkward book/DVD title juxtaposition that I found on the Tribune's freebie table, which is the place where unwanted newsroom graft goes to die:

Another bad book juxtaposition on the Tribune's freebie table

The book is by the guy who was featured in the documentary "Murderball," which I haven't seen but, yes, I know, everyone says it was very good so, OK, I'll add it to my Netflix queue. Are you happy now?

Asterisk: I did kind of nudge these two items together so that I could take the photo. But they were on the same table.

Oy, The Goyim!

Reformed Sourpuss Doug Stanley forwards the following Associated Press story, which I have lovingly copied and pasted below for your reading pleasure:

HAM FOR HANUKKAH
Grocery store apologizes for promotional display
Friday, December 7, 2007 5:06 AM

Associated Press
NEW YORK—This was REALLY not kosher.


A grocery store in Manhattan made a food faux pas, advertising hams as "Delicious for Chanukah."

Chanukah, an alternate spelling for Hanukkah, is the eight-day Jewish holiday that began Tuesday evening, and hams as well as pork and other products from pigs can't be eaten under Jewish dietary laws.

A woman who saw the mistake over the weekend at the Balducci's store on 14th Street took pictures of the signs and posted them on her blog.

Jennifer Barton, director of marketing, told The Associated Press yesterday that the signs were changed as soon as the error was noted.

She issued an apology on the company Web site, saying the company would be reviewing its employee training.


What makes this story so delicious (in a treyf way, of course) is that it happened in Manhattan, and not in, say, Greenville, Ala.

As Quatro Perguntas

Today's "Four Questions" title is in Portuguese in honor of Marcello Braga, an old classmate who got back in touch with me last night -- through his brother, on Facebook, of all things!

Q. What is Dave wearing today?
A. Dave is wearing a blue dress shirt, a black-and-brown tie, and a pair of blue jeans. He has a blue sports jacket in the car. Dave needs to look professional from the waist up today, because he's taping something for teevee. However, he's wearing jeans because he and Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley are hopping on an airplane this evening and flying to Birmingham (the one in Alabama, not the one in England).

Q. How does Dave feel today?
A. Dave is quite happy it's Friday.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood today?
A. Dave is already fed up with the Christmas decorations and music.

Q. Who is this Marcello person Dave told us about?
A. Marcello and Dave shared a locker in the eighth grade at the American School of Madrid. They made an interesting pair: Marcello was an easy going, quiet, guitar-playing guy from Brazil; and Dave was a neurotic, awkward, nerdish, Jewish kid from New York. Dave recalls that they always seemed to get along and have lots of fun together. Also, Marcello and Dave had last names that sounded very weird in Spain: Braga is a very common last name in Brazil, but in Spanish it's the word for ladies' underwear; while Dave's last name sounds like a common brand of vodka.

Thursday, December 6

Duh!

Hyundai has got to be kidding us.

The car maker has just rolled out one of the most sophisticated advertising campaigns I've seen in a while -- the "Think About It" campaign that challenges people to consider whether safety and reliability are more important than the shiny badge on the front of the car.

They complement it with a secondary campaign that's completely dissimilar in tone. It features people chanting and singing the word "Duh" over and over again as the narrator explains, of course, you should buy a Hyundai vehicle because they're good performers and they're now on sale.

I, as a potential car buyer, don't appreciate a company throwing the word "Duh" in my face, however nicely it's sung. It's insulting. It's snarky. And, in contrast with the other Hyundai campaign (the online component of which can be seen online at thinkaboutit.com) it's just hugely disappointing.

Hey, Hyundai: Don't insult your potential customers! Duh!

What Do We Want? Questions! How Many Do We Want? Four!

Shiny happy questions, holding hands!

Q. What is Dave wearing today?
A. Dave is wearing a red button-down shirt and a pair of olive drab khakis.

Q. How does Dave feel today?
A. Dave is bothered by the continuing writers' strike in the entertainment industry, as he had been planning to pitch an idea for an updated Love Boat TV show, except that the new cruise ship would travel through time and the crew would solve mysteries. Also, the captain would be a robot.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood today?
A. Dave is already fed up with the Christmas decorations and music.

Q. Will Dave audition for Big Brother this weekend in Tampa?
A. No. Dave read "1984" but hasn't seen the TV adaptation yet, so he doesn't think it would be appropriate to audition.

Schmuck Of The Day

The parking lot at Starbucks was jam-packed this morning, but that didn't stop this asshole from taking up two spots for his shiny red Mercedes:

Shmuck of the Day

Let's all honor this schmuck by singing a few lines from Ben Folds' "There's Always Someone Cooler Than You," shall we?

Smile
Like you've got nothing to prove
No matter what you might do
There's always someone out there cooler than you

Beneath the veneer ...
Not everybody made the list this year
Have a beer

Make me feel tiny if it makes you feel tall
But there's always someone cooler than you

Yeah, you're the shit but you won't be here for long
Oh, there's always someone cooler than you
Yeah, there's always someone cooler than you


Enjoy your Mercedes, schmuck! By the way, did you know that the C Class is the cheapest type of Mercedes sold in the United States? And that it's made in Tuscaloosa, Alabama? This means your precious automobile, the one that needs protective barrier around it, so that it doesn't come in contact with the unwashed heathens or their hoi polloi Hondas and Toyotas, can trace its lineage back on the family tree back to the cheap-ass vehicle that the Beverly Hillbillies drove to Californ-I-A.

You fuckwit.

Wednesday, December 5

The NEW Dreidel Song

Last week, I scoffed (ever so politely) at a coworker who seemed genuinely surprised that her new iMac had been made in China, and not by bespectacled latte-sipping geeks in a hillside workshed in northern California.

Don't you realize that everything is made in China these days? I asked her.

How these words would come back to haunt me.

I bought a few dreidels at synagogue last weekend. This morning, I fished one of these new dreidels out of my backpack and noticed the words on the cellophane wrapper:

A dreidel made in China -- close up

A toy made in China? Haven't I read something about that in the news recently?

Seriously, I would have sworn that all dreidels were made somewhere in Israel -- even the cheap plastic ones. I'm not naive enough to believe that Jewish workers are crafting each dreidel by hand, but I never imagined that there'd be enough demand for dreidels to justify some kind of Chinese dreidle manufacturing operation.

But, Dave, don't you realize that everything is made in China these days?

Touché.

In honor of my new Chinese dreidel, I have rewritten the words to the dreidel song. Please sing along:

I have a little dreidel
It's wooden and painted.
Uh-oh -- it's made in China!
I hope it's not tainted.

Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel.
I'm worried about lead.
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel,
Let's go eat instead.


A dreidel made in China

Rejected ending lines: "Let's play cards instead," and "Let's get drunk instead." I think I made the right choice. The option that involves eating is always the right one.

Happy Hanukkah, Four Questions!

On the first day of Hanukkah my true love gave to me: a statue of Judah Maccabee.

Q. What is Dave wearing today?
A. As it is still freezing cold today in Florida (ie. the temperature is below 72 degrees), Dave has decided to wear a blue-and-gray rugby shirt over a polo shirt. He's also wearing brown khaki pants. His primary concern today isn't making a professional impression, but staying warm as huddles over his computer at work and churns out all the stories that are due today.

Q. How does Dave feel today?
A. Dave is filled with Hanukkah cheer. It's like Christmas cheer, without all the pine needles and stories about flying deer.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood today?
A. Dave's got a lot of work on his plate today, but he's confident he can complete it.

Q. What did Dave receive for Hanukkah?
A. Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley gave Dave a brand new Emory University sweatshirt -- something Dave has wanted for a long time, since all of Dave's old Emory clothes have fallen apart or disappeared long ago. Dave gave Britt tickets to the upcoming Kiri Te Kanawa concert in Tampa (Britt will enjoy the fact that she's a New Zealand native who sings traditional Maori songs, and I enjoy introducing Britt to the world of opera). I also got him a book about the odd side of Alabama history. Britt and I have agreed to only exchange gifts for three days of Hanukkah, because it's one of those years that Christmas and Hanukkah don't overlap.

Elvis Is Everywhere

After five years in the Siberia Tallahassee bureau, America's Favorite Badgerphile Jerry Stockfisch has returned to the main newsroom.

Yesterday, I helped Jerry hang his prized painting of Elvis on his cubicle wall. It depicts Elvis singing, and a single tear is rolling down his cheek. It is painted on black velvet. It is simultaneously the cheesiest and most wonderful piece of art I have ever seen. Jerry claims to have purchased it at a roadside stand somewhere in the southwest; I think it would be at home both in the smoke-filled apartment of some aging prostitute in Las Vegas, and also in an exhibit of Twentieth Century pop culture icons at MoMa or the Tate Modern.

Here's a picture of Elvis and Jerry. Jerry is the person who is not singing or crying:

Elvis has left the building, but Jerry has not

Shortly after helping Jerry hang Elvis, I went to Bank of America Plaza to interview some people for a story. While there, I stopped by to visit two good sources: Michael Hoffman and Phil Weber, the building's leasing managers. They had recently moved into new office space on the eighth floor.

What did I see hanging beside Michael's desk? A framed picture of a crying Elvis, painted on black velvet!

Crying Elvis on black velvet in Michael Hoffman's office

The paintings aren't exactly the same. For one things, the dimensions are off: Michael's painting is a little wider than Jerry's. For another, the Elvises look a little different: The scarves are different colors, and Michael's Elvis has a collar so big that a team of structural engineers must have worked for months just to construct it.

I don't know why Michael put the "Free Tibet" bumper sticker on his Elvis painting. (Also, I didn't read the fine print on the sticker, but I assume that you only receive the free Tibet if you purchase a Tibet of equal or larger value.)

It's quite a coincidence that I would encounter two velvet Elvis paintings on the same day, though. Perhaps the ghost of Elvis is trying to tell me something.

I am reminded of "Elvis is Everywhere," the song by Mojo Nixon. Some lyrics:

When I look out into your eyes out there,
When I look out into your faces,
You know what I see?
I see a little bit of Elvis
In each and every one of you out there.

Let me tell you. Wellllllll...

Elvis is everywhere,
Elvis is everything,
Elvis is everybody,
Elvis is still the king.

Man oh man What I want you to see
Is that the big E's
Inside of you and me

Elvis is everywhere, man!
He's in everything.
He's in everybody.

Elvis is in your jeans.
He's in your cheeseburgers.
Elvis is in Nutty Buddies!
Elvis is in your mom!
He's in everybody.

He's in the young, the old,
the fat, the skinny,
the white, the black
the brown and the blue
people got Elvis in them too.

Tuesday, December 4

Telling A Book By Its Cover, Part II

Once again, I know you're not supposed to be able to tell a book by its cover.

However, I think it's safe to assume that this book is going to be pretty dreadful:

"Luck Be a Lady, Don't Die: A Rat Pack Mystery"

It's called "Luck Be a Lady, Don't Die" and it's subtitled "A Rat Pack Mystery." There are pictures of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., on the cover.

Something tells me this book will never be nominated for a Nobel Prize for Literature.

Perhaps a Pulitzer, but certainly not a Nobel.

I Have Four Little Questions

I made them out of clay
And when they're dry and ready
Four Questions I shall play!

Q. What is Dave wearing today?
A. As it is freezing cold today (it's in the 50s right now, which is tantamount to freezing for Floridians), Dave is wearing a black polo shirt and a heavier sports jacket. Dave thinks this makes him look somewhat scholarly:

Dave Photo Booth picture on Dec. 4

Dave is also wearing pants. Many people don't like it if you don't wear pants.

Q. How does Dave feel today?
A. Dave is excited because Hanukkah begins tonight.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave's mood today?
A. Dave is worried about the quality of his dreidel-spinning skills. You never know when a high-stakes game of Texas Hold-'Em dreidel is going to break out.

Q. Has Dave ever actually seen a little dreidel made out of clay?
A. No, Dave has not. Dave thinks a clay dreidel would be very impractical. It would be soft and lumpy, and hard to spin. If it has been fired in a kiln, then it would probably be very breakable -- not a good quality for a children's toy. Dave prefers plastic and wooden dreidels, although he has not heard any songs written about these things.

I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, Part IV

Hanukkah begins at sundown tonight.

If you have bought me an Isis toilet from renowned designer Jamal Wright, I hope you kept the receipt.

Isis toilet by Jemal Wright screengrab.png

This is a toilet encrusted in Swarovski crystals. It costs $75,000. It seems that one has already been sold.

Please, please, please do not buy this for me.

I cannot resist making this crude joke: With toilets, doesn't the crap usually go on the inside? Forgive me.

(Previous installments of I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got: Part I, Part II, Part III.)

Wayne's World

I featured Wayne Garcia in yesterday's Four Questions, but failed to link to his excellent blog. You'll find Wayne's political rants and ramblings at The Political Whore.

Those of us in the know call Wayne's blog the PoHo for short. That's because people in the know like to abbreviate things. We think it makes us sound cool.

Today's Memo: All Drivers

To: Every single driver in the Tampa Bay area
From: Dave
Date: Dec. 4, 2007
Subject: Mind the road

Put down the fucking cell phones and pay attention to the fucking road! I have no idea what you're talking about, but I'm sure it's not nearly as important as accidentally rear-ending my car or veering head-first into my lane of traffic, you fuckwits.

Monday, December 3

Today's Special Four Questions: Wayne Garcia

Today's Four Questions are answered by Weekly Planet Creative Loafing überpundit Wayne Garcia, who just happens to be sitting two tables away from me right now.

Q. What is Wayne wearing?
A. Wayne says "this is a Clayborne ugly tan dress shirt -- the only one I can find in this size until I lose some more weight -- and a pair of ugly faux Docker dress pants, and the best $25 pair of Reeboks I could find at the Burlington Coat factory." Wayne apparently has not been informed that Dave is the only one allowed to display self deprecating humor on the Daily Dave 2.0.

Q. How does Wayne feel today?
A. Wayne says he feels "totally stressed out by grad school."

Q. What are the factors affecting Wayne's mood today?
A. Wayne says, "It's Monday and it's Monday. Monday pretty much covers everything."

Q. Who does Wayne think is the sexiest GOP candidate, based on what he saw at last Wednesday's debate in St. Petersburg?
A. Wayne says "It's gotta be Mike Huckabee. He's lost like 110 pounds. I've lost 94 pounds." On the Democratic side, Wayne prefers Edwards.

Land Rovers Of Death

I've already shared my thoughts about Chevrolet's use of "American Pie" in commercials -- even though the ads omit the last line of the chorus, "This will be the day that we die / This will be the day that we die," it's still bad judgment, in my opinion, to use a song that reminds people of their own mortality.

At least Chevrolet's ad team can claim they chose "American Pie" because it mentions Chevy by name. What the heck were Land Rover's people thinking when they picked "Do You Realize??" by the Flaming Lips for their latest advertising spot?

(The song title does, in fact, have two question marks, so that's not a typo. I just want to make sure the copy editors reading this don't freak out.)

"Do You Realize??" is one of the most remarkable songs I have ever heard. I have always appreciated it, but it took on special meaning after my brother died. Here are the lyrics:

Do you realize -- that you have the most beautiful face?
Do you realize -- we're floating in space?
Do you realize -- that happiness makes you cry?
Do you realize -- that everyone you know someday will die?

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know
You realize that life goes fast.
It's hard to make the good things last.
You realize the sun doesn't go down.
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.


As I see it, the song is about learning to come to grips with our own transience, and to understand that death is an inevitable part of life.

The Land Rover spot eliminates all of the lyrics save for the "Do you realize" lines, and asks the viewer questions such as if they've ever transported royalty or if they've ever seen the earth's curvature.

Anyone who recognizes the music in the Land Rover ads will automatically know that the types of questions asked have been cheapened -- instead of being existential and philosophical, they are now meant to make you think about how many awesome things you can do in a Land Rover.

More importantly, anyone who knows the point of "Do You Realize??" will be reminded of the message of the song when they see the Land Rover spot. The commercial will not make them think of expensive, rugged, capable new vehicles. They will think of death, of loved ones who have died, and of their own impermanence.

"Do You Realize??" is an amazing song. It's one of those songs that can change your mood and, perhaps, your life. To me, it's a reminder that I and everyone I love will die one day, and there's nothing I can do but try to understand this fact.

I can't imagine a worse song to use in a commercial. However, I'm sure I'll turn on the teevee sometime soon and prove myself wrong.

Tattoo U.

Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley and I were in Target last night when I noticed someone sporting two matching tattoos of elephant chains around his forearms. I approached the guy, explained that I liked elephants because of the University of Alabama connection (and pointed out that Britt was, in fact, wearing a Crimson Tide t-shirt) and asked if I could take a picture of the tattoos. He said OK, and explained that he got the tattoos because he's also a University of Alabama fan, and had them done while he was in the Navy.

Here's the picture:

Bama elephant tattoos

This, of course, is not the most impressive example of Alabama-related tattoos Britt and I have seen recently. That title would without a doubt go to the guy we discovered in front of Denny Chimes on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa. As you'll notice, he's got the Alabama logo tattooed on each bicep:

Now those are Bama tattoos

And, yes, this is a tattoo of the illustrious Alabama coach Bear Bryant:

Bear Bryant tattoo

Don't fail to notice the "Roll" and "Tide" tattoos on the back of this man's upper arms. I believe his forearms, which you can't see here, spell out "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer," a school chant that's based on the name of Alabama's state bird.

As an Emory University alum, I can't quite understand the fervor that drives people to permanently mark themselves with their school mascots and football coaches. (Emory doesn't have a football team, and our mascot is a skeleton who wears a cape and a top hat.)

Perhaps I will get a temporary tattoo that says "I (heart) Coach Franchione," just to see Britt's reaction. Britt, like all Alabama football fans I have met, despises Franchione. With my luck, though, the temporary tattoo will turn out to be permanent.

Pat Gets Political

America's Favorite Domestic Terrierist Pat Kane (read that title very carefully, especially if you're with the FBI and thinking about adding Pat's name to any sort of watch lists -- she advocates protecting Wire Fox Terriers, not terror) wants to make sure a puppy mill operator doesn't get his hands on any more dogs.

Go to her Web site, Mr. Doodle's Dog, to get all the details on the Blainville Wires situation, and to find out how you can help. Go. Now. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.