Sunday, March 29, 2009

One of the strangest things I saw (and heard) in the NY subway yesterday

What does the New York subway system, the Star Trek theme tune, and a saw have in common? Watch my latest video and you will discover the answer.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Four Questions says happy birthday to Wendy and Kristen

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave is wearing his pink dress shirt and a purple-and-black tie. If Dave were any more handsome or fashionable right now, you'd mistake him for a GQ cover model.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave is excited.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave’s mood?

A. The new GLBT Circle steering council -- of which Dave is a member -- is hosting its first meeting today.

Q. Why did Dave decide to wear a pink shirt?

A. All gay men are required to wear pink shirt to GLBT-related functions, as stipulated in section 4, subsection 32, paragraph 14.3 of the Gay Agenda.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Горяче и холодно for your amusement

I know nothing about this band. I only know:
  • They are from Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, the Ukraine, or one of the other places in the world that uses the Cyrillic alphabet.
  • They totally crack me up.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It was Barbara who brought all that leftover Halloween candy into work today

Actual exchange:

Me, incredulously: "Who the hell has leftover Halloween candy anyway?"

Barb: "Us thin people have leftover Halloween candy, that's who."

Me, sheepishly: "Touché."

The Two Squared Questions

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave is wearing khakis and a mossy green polo shirt.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave feels sick to his stomach.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave’s mood?

A. Dave just saw straight people kiss in Starbucks. Dave doesn't mind straight people. Some of Dave's best friends are straight. Dave just wishes that straight people would keep their disgusting lifestyle in the bedroom, where in belongs, instead of flaunting it in public where children might see it.

Q. What did Dave think of "I Love You, Man?"

A. Dave loved it, man.

Two completely unnecessary videos for your viewing enjoyment

If you have spare time and don't mind being disappointed, here are two new videos for you to watch:

My Five-Year Plan for music

When I was in college, I discovered music that was written by people approximately my age, reflecting my world view and my experiences. For me, this was a revelation. Until then, I had survived on the music of my parents' generation, such as the Rolling Stones and Billy Joel, or whatever mainstream radio and MTV had deemed fit to shove down my throat.

Just a few months ago, I realized that my musical diet hadn't changed much since the early 1990s. The XM satellite radio in my new car featured dozens of ad-free radio stations, but I only listened to two: I usually played the station playing hits from my college years (named Lithium, after the Nirvana song), and occasionally tuned into one playing songs from the '80s.

It was a sad and sudden epiphany: I had evolved, but not the music I listened to, with the exception of a few happy discoveries like The Dresden Dolls and Lily Allen. I immediately thought back to an old Margaret Cho comedy routine, when she imagines Generation X'ers in a nursing home in the future, listening to oldies on the radio. "Turn up 'Hungry Like the Wolf'," she says.

I set out to discover new music. I called this my Five-Year Plan -- to begin focusing on singers and bands that had been around for less than five years. These were my tools:
  • Sirius XM (née XM), which plays music that I've never heard on mainstream radio stations
  • Shazam, a free app for the iPhone that helps identify any song that's playing. Once the song is tagged, you have a handy list of songs you like, which comes in handy when you go home and want to check out songs and build a playlist in ...
  • iTunes and the iTunes store.
  • my iPhone.
Through my Five-Year Plan, I have discovered three absolutely brilliant bands: TV on the Radio, Vampire Weekend, and Fleet Foxes. I am listening to Neko Case and Ray Lemontagne, two singers I would have overlooked before. I appreciate Feist beyond "1, 2, 3, 4" and can't wait for Regina Spektor's new album.

Here is an iTunes Mix sharing some of my Five-Year Plan goodness:

I didn't set out on the Five-Year Plan to regain my youth or replace my favorite bands from the early '90s. I'll remain an R.E.M. fan for life. I merely saw a place in my life where I was getting stale, and I shook things up. I'm glad I did.

1 Yes, I know it's not a dial anymore.

Please allow me to (re-)introduce myself. I'm a man of (little) wealth and (even less) taste

I apologise for my irregular posting schedule during the past two weeks. I have reached the age, sadly, where I know firsthand that irregularity is a very bad thing.

I have been preoccupied by the following things:
  • Sleep.
  • I was sick for a few days.
  • Work.
  • Did I mention sleep?1
I will try to post blog items more frequently from now on.

1 Really, I blame Daylight Savings Time for my overreliance on the snooze button for the last two weeks. Who wants to get out of bed when it's dark outside? I slap the snooze button so many times each morning that the alarm clock and I have already devised a safe word. There is that much slapping involved.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Christo and Jeanne-Claude have followed me to my new job!

First, read this post from April 26, 2006. Then, look at what I saw in the men's room this afternoon:

The only possible conclusion is that Christo and Jean-Claude are following me from job to job, turning my bathrooms into public art installations.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

And what, might I ask, makes this particular foodstuff so smart?

Did it earn a PhD in Porkanomics and a Masters in Vegantology from Nova Southeastern University? I don't think so.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sorry about the lack of posts

I have been busy posting nearly 600 old1 photographs to Facebook. If you're a Facebook friend, check out my photo galleries.

1 And I mean OLD. They're from 1982 to 1994.

Friday, March 06, 2009

I am presenting the following Microsoft Paint masterpiece without any context because, frankly, it's funnier that way

I suppose, on hindsight, "welding hat" should be "welding helmet." Oh well.

It has been a non-stop whirlwind of birthdays

The Daily Dave Office of Birthday Cake and Candle Procurement has been very busy these days. Congratulations to Doug, Janet, Mary, and Cherie -- and many happy returns.

And I can't forget a special birthday shout-out to Kurt Loft. Kurt and I met in the Tribune newsroom in 1999, and since we've built a relationship on mutual respect, intelligent conversation, a love a classical music1, and smack talk.

In honor of Kurt's birthday, I posted my award-winning2 nature documentary, "In Search of the Elusive Kurtloft," to YouTube. In this short film, I travel halfway around the world to find one of nature's most enigmatic creatures, the greater yellow-crested bespectacled mustachioed kurtloft.

The video was only posted for 24 hours, to coincide with Kurt's birthday. If you haven't seen it, you may be able to find a bootlegged copy on the black market. Or, just ask Kurt. He has the DVD.

Here are some facts3 about me and Kurt:

  • Kurt and I were briefly recruited to serve in the US Government's paranormal research bureau.
  • I wrote the libretto for Kurt's opera, "Ich Trage Ein Kleid, Ich Bin Hübsch."
  • Kurt and I call each other every evening to coordinate our outfits.
  • Kurt and I participated in the Running of the Bulls. Alas, it was not the one in Pamplona. We were trampled by a bunch of basketball players in Chicago.
  • Kurt flings rubber bands at me during the work day. I have recently discovered that he writes a tiny letter on each rubber band. In order, these letters seem to spell out a sentence. So far, they say "All work and no play makes Kurt a dul..."

1 Except for Wagner. Kurt adores Wagner. I think the only good thing even remotely related to Wagner's anti-Semitic brain is that his music is the foundation for the best Bugs Bunny cartoon ever, "What's Opera, Doc?"
2 This is not true. I have won no awards for this documentary.
3 Lies.

The Four Questions are pretty, witty, and bright

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave is wearing jeans and a light blue polo shirt. He looks quite dashing.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave feels cheated.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave’s mood?

A. Dave says that he wants to sit in one of the comfy chairs at Starbucks, but two of the chairs are currently occupied by people who don't appear to have purchased anything at Starbucks! Both of them are drinking Arizona iced teas. David can only assume that they are time travelers from the late 1980s, when Arizona iced teas were trendy, and need a place to sit because time travel is a very tiresome activity. That's the only way to explain their gall.

Q. What are Dave's plans for the weekend?

A. Dave has a dilemma tonight. He's eager to see "Watchmen," yet he feels obligated to go to shul because he hasn't been in a long time. Perhaps Dave can convince the rabbi to move tonight's services to the movie theater. I have always thought that the Amidah could use some special effects.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Thank you, Patsy! Here are some more thoughts about chocolate

Thank you, Patsy, for the shout-out on Housewife-Shmousewife!

I agree with your post. Chocolate is one of the finer things in life. I'm not quite as much a connoisseur as you, but my palate can certainly differentiate between cheap chocolate and the good stuff. Here are some of my thoughts on chocolate:

  • My favorite line in "Jerry Springer: The Opera" is "Dip me in chocolate and feed me to the lesbians."
  • Mass manufactured chocolate bars in the US are inferior to mass manufactured chocolate bars in the UK. To wit: a British Kit Kat bar tastes much better than its US namesake. The US versions of all the Cadbury chocolate bars taste much more waxy and chalky than the same bars in the UK.
  • A Hershey Bar tastes better in the UK than it does in the US. This has nothing to do with the actual taste of the chocolate. It's because when I was a kid, you couldn't find Hershey bars in Britain. When you did, it was a symbol of your home country. That made it taste good. The actual flavor was unimportant and irrelevant. (Today, they probably have Hershey bars all over the UK. If that's the case, they probably taste terrible because there would be nothing special about finding one.)
  • I believe that it is important to try every new kind of chocolate that comes your way. Chocolate mixed with cornflakes? Chocolate and chili peppers? Chocolate and crystalized ginger? I've tried them all. So should you.
  • There are few worse feelings in the world than buying an expensive piece of chocolate with high expectations for it, and then biting into it and tasting failure.
  • We had a lot of chocolate in the house when I was growing up. My mother used to buy chocolate in bulk, melt down the chips, and make her own lollipops and other items using candy molds. I prefer her new hobby, quilting, because the results last longer and don't melt.
  • Why has no one dipped a Payday bar in chocolate? I think dark chocolate would work best.

3-4-Four Questions

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave heard somewhere that black is slimming. Therefore, he is wearing an all-black head-to-toe body stocking, with two little holes cut out for eyes. He was sewn in so there are no telltale seams.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave feels upbeat, but a little tired.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave’s mood?

A. Dave says everything at home and work is going well. Also, Dave hasn't heard or seen anything about the Octomom on teevee for 24 hours, which makes him happy.

Q. How does Dave like his body stocking?

A. Dave loves his body stocking, and can see no possible problems with wearing such a garment all day. Oh, wait, Dave has to pee. He just realized one possible problem of being sewn inside an article of clothing that is impossible to remove.

Starbucks needs cartoon characters

In case you're not following the restaurant industry wars, the big battle right now isn't between McDonald's and Burger King. It's between McDonald's and Starbucks.

McDonald's has been deliberately chipping away at Starbucks' customer base by offering its own line of espresso drinks and premium coffees.

Starbucks responded by broadening its breakfast menu to include Egg McMuffin-like sandwiches, and, just recently, by introducing Pairings -- essentially, a value menu without numbers.

If the war between McDonald's and Starbucks escalates further -- and that is a distinct possibility in our current economy, as both companies are forced to bring in traffic -- I wonder what ideas the companies will pilfer from each other next. While competition is good, I fear we're not too far away from a press release that says:

SEATTLE -- Starbucks introduced a family of cartoon characters today designed to help familiarize its products with young consumers. The three main Starbucks characters are Buzzy McCaffeine, a goodnatured clown who seems sluggish in the morning until he has his first caramel mocha latte; The mischevious beanburgler, who is foiled in all his attempts to steal other people's Starbucks drinks; and the Grinnace, an amorphous character who promotes the benefits of delicious Frappucinos.

Comment away, Daily Dave fans

If you have something to say, say it! I have turned on the commenting feature for this blog.

(The commenting capability was always there. I just forgot to activate it in all my excitement of launching the third iteration of the Daily Dave. I am a bad man, and I will be punished appropriately.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

No line on the horizon for the Four Questions

Q. What is Dave wearing?

A. Dave is wearing a blue dress shirt and khaki pants.

Q. What kind of mood is Dave in?

A. Dave feels calm and somewhat collected.

Q. What are the factors affecting Dave’s mood?

A. Dave has reached that weird state in which he's had enough caffeine to wake him up, but not enough caffeine to make him edgy.

Q. What does Dave think the U.S. Mint should do after the State Quarter program runs its course?
A. Dave thinks it's time for a Hello Kitty commemorative quarter program.

Adventures in facial recognition technology

The newest version of Apple's photo management software, iPhoto, includes an exiting new addition -- it has the ability to recognize people's faces. This is excellent. Until now, I have been tagging every photograph manually: if it included a picture of Britt, I added "Britt" as a keyword. Now, I can sit back and let the program do much of the heavy lifting.

The facial recognition technology in iPhoto is pretty good. Here, the program has correctly identified cousins Eric and Howie:

The most common mistake I run into is people being confused for their brother or sister. Here, iPhoto thinks my father is my Uncle Fred:

Some iPhoto mistakes are harder to understand. Here, iPhoto thinks my father looks like Steve Souza. While the Simanoffs and the Souzas have been best of friends for more than 20 years, the two familes are not related -- unless my parents are hiding something!

And, here, iPhoto thinks this older guy with gray hair and a receding hairline is Shawn Woodford, a coworker's husband. Shawn looks nothing like this. He is much younger and has reddish-blond hair, which he pulls back into a ponytail. (I should also mention that I have no idea who these people are. They are in the periphery of a photograph that I took.)

iPhoto is obsessed with Melinda Jenzarli, the new wife of one of Britt's oldest friends in Tampa. I took a photo of this random dance troupe in Dam Square in Amsterdam about five years ago (think Sparkle Motion from "Donnie Darko"), and now iPhoto believes Melinda is one of the members).

iPhoto also found Melinda in a crowded street in -- oh, I don't know. This could have been Paris or Brussels or Istanbul.

iPhoto will also recognize faces of inanimate objects. Only one of these creepy heads is human:

In Prague, I took this photo of a shop selling nesting dolls. iPhoto thinks the shelves are lined with humans:

iPhoto will sometimes mistake a wheel for a face:

In this photo, taken on Chicago's Magnificent Mile, Britt (real) and Bob Newhart (in statue form) are ignored -- but the minivan wheel is recognized as a face:

Finally, iPhoto can recognize faces from '80s TV shows, provided those faces are wrapped around delicious candy bars.

Is this Florida?

Look at the temperature on my dashboard this morning: 42°!

That's simply not fair. It's March. It's Florida. It's ridiculous.

It should be noted that I did need to wear sunglasses, though. At least it wasn't cold and rainy.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Southern food frightens me

In a recent email exchange with Britt and his brother Chris, I was shocked to discover that Britt didn’t discover crème brûlée until he was about 30 years old, and Chris didn’t know what steak frites was were until he was approximately the same age. I, of course, took this opportunity to joke that as someone born in New York, I was served steak frites and crème brûlée in pre-K. Britt remarked that he and Chris were confirming my worst stereotypes of Alabama cuisine. I, ignoring the obvious invitation to ask “What Alabama cuisine,” served up the following list instead:

A partial list of Southern food that I don't understand:
  • Head cheese. Why call it “head cheese” when it clearly has nothing to do with heads nor cheese? For that matter, why call it food when it is clearly inedible?
  • Pimiento cheese. Britt makes this at Passover and puts it on his matzo, just like the ancient Hebrews fleeing Egypt 
  • Grits. They are tasty, but I don’t get them. Are they grains? Wheat? Albino larvae? 
  • Pork rinds. Now these are a complete puzzlement. Pork rinds are pig skins, fried, right? Why not just deep fry a football, then?
  • Collard greens. They almost made me fall off a roof in Boynton Beach once. I won't eat them ever again.
  • Pot liqueur. I understand what this is. I just like saying it because it sounds funny.
  • Peanuts in Coke. Oh, I’m sure it tastes good – the whole salty-and-sweet thing – but no one looks good receiving the Heimlich maneuver.
  • Chicken-fried steak. Steak is tasty. Fried chicken is tasty. Dipping steak in flour and then frying it up like chicken is not tasty, especially when the steak is then topped off with lumpy white substance that looks suspiciously like it had fallen in the dirt and was scooped back up.
  • Waffle House. No explanation is necessary, is it?


Sorry, but I don't have time for a post right now. I'm still working on my soon-to-be-award-winning nature documentary.