Four Questions

If There’s Something Strange in Your Neighborhood, Who Ya Gonna Call? The Four Questions!

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing a Bucs polo shirt and a pair of shorts.

What is one thing that’s making Dave happy today? Dave had shakshuka for breakfast. It’s a traditional Middle Eastern breakfast dish with eggs and a rich tomato sauce. It’s hard to find in the United States.

What is Dave’s inspirational thought for the day? Dave says if you can’t decide which type of pie you want, order two slices and save one for later. 

What are Dave’s plans for the evening? A wise man once said that if you can’t decide which type of pie you want, you should order two slices and save one for later. So, tonight Dave will be eating the second piece of pie he got yesterday from the Amish restaurant in Sarasota.

Travel & Food

How A-Door-Able!

I often hear the word “whimsy” used to describe things that are weird, but I think the definition goes far beyond that. Whimsical things are quaint, imaginative, and surprising. They catch you off guard and make you smile.

Here’s a good example of whimsy: This morning, while exploring Sarasota’s Bayfront Park with the Complimentary Spouse, something on the ground caught my eye. I thought it was a piece of litter. It was, in fact, a little pink door that someone had affixed to the root of a massive ficus tree.

Talk about the essence of whimsy!

The door is an oddity that serves no purpose other than to delight. For a few moments, all the worries and doubts in your brain disappear, and you’re left wondering who lives there. It’s too small for squirrels, so I’m envisioning a family of Richard Scarry-esque mice. Elves are a possibility too. What about fairies? How big do gnomes get?1

To the person who placed the door in the park: Thank you for the whimsy. You’ve made the park better. You’ve made my day better. You’ve made everything better.

1 Of course, it’s not Smurfs. They live in mushrooms.

Four Questions

Waiter! The Four Questions Would Like the Check, Please.

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing a sweatshirt! It’s finally cold in Florida!1

What is one thing that’s making Dave happy today? Dave is having a lovely weekend in Sarasota with the Complimentary Spouse.

What is Dave’s inspirational thought for the day? Dave says it’s okay to be a little naughty on your diet when you’re on vacation. Especially if you’re near an Amish restaurant known for fried chicken and peanut butter pie.

What is Dave doing at this exact moment? Dave and Britt are hanging out by a fire pit and enjoying the awesome weather.  

1 That means it’s currently 72 degrees.

LGBTQ Married Life

Mind Your I’s and E’s

I just realized I have accidentally called Britt the Complementary Spouse in a few recent posts. This is an error. He is the Complimentary Spouse.

“But, Dave,” I can hear you say.1 “That’s incorrect grammar. Don’t you have an English degree from a Top 25 university? Who are you, Ralph Wiggum?”

How dare you question me, peasant. Those are good points, and I’ve definitely had my share of Wiggumish moments, but let me explain. Long before Britt and I were married — in fact, long before Britt and I could even imagine marriage equality happening — Britt bought a membership at Sam’s Club. When he filled out the form, he was able to add me to the account for free as his “Complimentary Spouse.”

That may seem like a small thing, but it was one of the very first times that an organization recognized us as a couple. Back then, we couldn’t conceive of being spouses due to DOMA and similarly bigoted laws — but at least we could be spouses in the eyes of a retail warehouse club. It was something small, but it was something, and since then, we’ve been each other’s Complimentary Spouses.

1 No, I can’t. What am I, Superman? You’re nowhere near me. How would I possibly hear you saying that?

LGBTQ Married Life

Anniversary × 2

When the Complimentary Spouse and I met on October 29, 2002, it was unimaginable that we’d be married one day. So it just seemed natural that we’d celebrate our anniversary on October 29 each year.

Fast forward to 2008. All of a sudden, marriage equality is a reality. Britt and I rushed to California and got married on July 3.

And — voilà! — we have two anniversaries on our calendar. We tend to go all-out for our marriage anniversary, but we still take time to do something special on our first-meeting-aversary.

LGBTQ people have been excluded from social conventions for so long that we’ve had to create many of our own traditions and customs. We’re certainly not the only old1 gay couple to have two anniversaries. The double anniversary is more than another excuse for extra presents and cake — it’s an invention by the LGBTQ community that proves that things that seem impossible can become reality.

1 This means that the relationship is old, not that Britt and I are. We’re young and youthful, dammit.

Four Questions

The Four Questions Are the Mind-Killer

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing a blue short-sleeve button-down shirt and a pair of brown shorts.

What is one thing that’s making Dave happy today? Dave was sent this meme by his friend Mike:

What is Dave’s inspirational thought for the day? Dave says to channel your inner Sophia — be wise and sassy.

Has Dave seen Dune yet? Funny you should ask. Dave saw it this evening and hopes the sequel is titled Spice World. If you wanna be my sandworm, you gotta hang with my fremen.


Author, Author

I tend to read two books at a time — one serious, one fun — because that’s just how I roll. A few weeks ago, I was delighted to discover that both books I was reading shared a similar, and important, message.

First, from “Hola Papi” by John Paul Brammer:

“We can’t change the events of our lives. They happened, and there they are. But the lines we draw to connect those events, the shapes we make and the conclusions we reach, those come from us. They are our own design.”

John Paul Brammer

Second, from “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:1

“But these transformations require that a person be prepared to perceive unexpected opportunities. Most of us become so rigidly fixed in the ruts carved out by genetic programming and social conditioning that we ignore the options of choosing any other course of action. Living exclusively by genetic and social instructions is fine as long as everything goes well. But the moment biological or social goals are frustrated — which in the long run is inevitable — a person must formulate new goals, and create a new flow activity for himself, or else he will waste his energies in inner turmoil.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The Brammer book is a funny memoir by a gay advice columnist; the subtitle is “How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons.” The Csikszentmihalyi book is academic and ponderous. It explores how people can achieve a state of flow — that’s what it’s called when you’re totally engrossed by an activity — and the implications for sports, academics, creative pursuits, parenthood, religion, and society at large.

So, yeah, two very different books. I don’t think Csikszentmihalyi brings up the subject of gay porn even once!2 But notice how the two messages resonate on the same frequency. The authors say we may not be able to change things in the past, but we get to choose how we interpret them, define them, and what meaning to derive from them.

This is my takeaway: No matter what has happened, or what others have told us, or what expectations have been set for us, we can create our own narratives and forge a path forward that is fulfilling and makes us happy. And it’s up to us to take action and make that happen.

That’s a message that bears repeating, rewriting, and rereading as much as possible.

1 He recently passed away. Check out my flowbituary.
2 An unforgivable oversight on Csikszentmihalyi’s part.

Four Questions

The Four Questions Can Be so Insensitive

What is Dave wearing today? Dave is wearing a forest green polo shirt and gray shorts. He looks like a tree.

What is one thing that’s making Dave happy today? On his morning run, Dave saw a sunrise so beautiful that it made yesterday’s look like garbage.1 Here’s a photo. It’s unfiltered and hasn’t been retouched — this is literally what I saw.

What is Dave’s inspirational thought for the day? Dave says hopelessness is a learned attitude, and it can be unlearned.

What has Dave been watching on teevee? The Complementary Spouse and Dave are watching Jann, a comedy in which musician Jann Arden plays a self-absorbed, oblivious, and — dare I say it — insensitive version of herself. Insensitive! Get it?2

1 It’s called hyperbole, folks.
2 If not, let me remind you of the title of her biggest hit:

Current Events

Let’s See What’s in the News

Here are a few articles and essays that have stood out to me in the past few days:

The Advocate: Ohio High School Cancels Play After Furor Over LGBTQ+ Character

Seriously? Have fun trying to find a play that doesn’t have a connection to LGBTQ people in the plot, in the cast, or behind the scenes.

As Fran Lebowitz once said, “If you removed all of the homosexuals and homosexual influence from what is generally regarded as American culture, you would pretty much be left with Let’s Make a Deal.”

I’m reminded of this song from The Producers:

Heather Cox Richardson: Substack Newsletter for October 27, 2021

This is the kind of essay that keeps me up at night. After exploring some recent developments in the United States and Europe, she explains just how revolutionary the idea of American democracy was at the time — and how people have been chipping away at it as early as the 1820s. I can’t help think of Animal Farm when I read this:

And there it was: the replacement of the idea that all people are created equal with the idea that some people are better than others, and that those people, who truly understand God’s laws, should rule.

Heather Cox Richardson

NBC News: Woman claims strawberry Pop-Tarts don’t have enough strawberries, sues for $5 million

Who else noticed that the author of the Pop-Tarts story is named Popken? 

Entertainment Weekly: A public domain photo of The Office star B.J. Novak is being used on random products worldwide

I’m delighted by this. Check out the photos.


A Reminder That I Am the Greatest Poet of My Generation

Note: Eons ago, when I was a newspaper reporter in the early 2000s, I used to write the occasional haiku — mainly goofy stuff that sometimes I would share on the newsroom messaging system. Those haiku were lost to posterity, but in 2009 I was able to unearth them and posted them on one of the earlier iterations of The Daily Dave. Here is what I posted in 2009 — you’ll notice that the haiku themselves go back even further than that.

So, basically, I’m reposting a post from 2009, and that post is a compilation of other posts from 2002 and 2003. Got it? I’m not sure I do, but let’s press on anyway.

Many people have said that I am the finest haiku writer of my generation. Here is some long-lost evidence.

Nearly all of the haiku I wrote in 2002 and 2003 was lost at the end of 2003, when the original Daily Dave mysteriously disappeared somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle. While we had lost all hope of ever reclaiming the original content that made up America’s Favorite Blog Before Anybody Knew What A Blog Was, a team of forensic poets has been working since early 2004 to reconstruct all of the haiku.

After five years and nearly $5 billion, 99.8% of the haiku has been recovered and is ready to present to the public. These poems will illuminate the aesthetic and zeitgeist of an America that existed long ago — and provide fresh insight into our own time, values, and morals. Reposting these haiku to the Web might prove to be the most valuable contribution to literature in the information age.1

On Tuesday, February 12, 2002, the very first Daily Dave post combined my two greatest loves, donuts and haiku:

And now, my first senryu for the Tally office:
Golden glazed donuts —
Treats for your heart and belly.

They were Krispy Kremes, FYI.

A second post later that day included another haiku:

Today is Florida Space Day in Tallahassee, and any organization or company with ties to NASA has set up a booth in the Capitol building. Here’s a nice litle senryu to celebrate the occasion:

Astronaut squeeze toys,
“Ground control to Major Tom”—
Free ballpoints for all!

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Friday the 13th,
Unluckiest day of all.
Wednesday? No problem.

So, what exactly is the difference between haiku and senryu? The way I understand it, both are Japanese poetry forms that follow the 5-7-5 syllable scheme, but haiku generally deal with nature, and senryu can be about pretty much anything else. Therefore, if you’re reading a poem about cherry blossom leaves, you’re most likely looking at haiku. If the poem mentions dental floss, Derek Jeter, or the Dow Jones Industrial Average, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that it’s senryu.

Speaking of donuts, let me just state for the record that little powdered donuts are quite tasty. I’ve probably written a half dozen senryu about these torus-shaped slices of heaven at Sadly, all of these were written in the unenlightened days when I called all 5-7-5 poems haiku because I didn’t know any better. I must thank Gregg Easterbrook and his Tuesday Morning Quarterback column at for lifting me from the abyss and showing me the senryu light.

According to my former Japanese history professor, Mark Ravina, this is how you pronounce senryu:

It is actually tricky because the ryu is one syllable — not “ree-you” but something that would rhyme with “shoe.” Then the final sound “u” is lengthened. So it rhymes with “shoooo.” The sen rhymes with “pen.” Hope that doesn’t clarify anything — it’s not like you’re still paying tuition or something.

Of course, most of my linguistic crusades are short-lived, and you should expect me to drop this one pretty quickly and revert to using the word haiku so that people know what the hell I’m talking about. That’s probably a good thing since explaining the difference between haiku and senryu would take time away from my single-handed effort to keep the subjunctive mood alive in American English.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

A beer truck hit a school bus in northeast Tampa this morning. There were no children on the bus, but apparently, beer is spilling all over Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. Here was my haiku-style response, which I filed on the Trib’s message system:

Precious tasty beer,
Spilling all over Bruce B. Downs—
Where is my straw please?

Here are some of the responses:

A haiku? Geeze, I’d forgotten what a haiku was since gradeating
hi skool!
(YHAMMETT, 3/13/02 11:23)

beer on a school bus? shocking!
(COPS, P MORGAN, 3/13/02 11:24)

RE MSG 3/13 “Where is my straw, please?…”: Who drinks beer
with a straw? Be a man.. go out there and drink from the
(NGREGOIRE, 3/13/02 11:26)

big beer truck go crash/I spy cans rolling on ground/think I’ll
call in sick
(COPS, LENGELL, 3/13/02 11:32)

beer spills; down drainpipes; bypassing consumers
(COPS, BRENNAN, 3/13/02 11:36)

suds pool languidly/ slaking canine, feline thirsts/ tempting
(COPS, BARRY, 3/13/02 11:40)

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

A Tallahassee senryu:

Senators babble.
Meeting enters fourteenth hour.
So bored. Butt is numb.

Friday, March 22, 2002

It’s supposedly the last day of the Legislative session here in Tallahassee, and the bureau chief here sent the following message to his reporters:

Be bold with your strokes and scrawls today boys. Let’s make
it all forward-looking and highly energetic reading
tomorrow…Weave show-don’t-tell details with sharp analysis
and perfectly chosen quotes. Like we do every day, but more so.
(TALLY, WARK, 3/22/02 13:32)

My response, of course, was to suggest that we instead write all of the stories in haiku form. 

The bureau chief’s reply:

Instead, let’s write every story in haiku form. (TALLY, DSIMANOFF, 3/22/02 13:38) See, and you all thought that reminder was unwarranted.
(WARK, 3/22/02 13:42)

Wanting the last word, I responded with this message:

Haiku are more fun
Than inverted pyramids,
Whatever the story.

Friday, April 5, 2002

After four months of disgust up here in Tallahassee, my faith in our political process was restored today when the Florida Senate, forced into an all-or-nothing situation by the House of Representatives, decided to throw out an important, 1,800-page school bill.

Their reason? The bill contains a very short but broadly worded section that allows religious proselytizing in schools. Since the Senate couldn’t excise that small provision, they stood up for their principles and dumped the entire bill, despite heavy pressure to adopt it from Gov. Jeb Bush.

It was a justifiable case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, in my opinion.

Here is a haiku I wrote earlier today when things were starting to heat up on the Senate floor. I have been informed that “conference” is three syllables, although it sounds like a two-syllable word when I say it.

Done deal comes undone.
Conference bill has blown up.
A big clusterfuck.

Monday, May 20, 2002

A haiku on the 13th anniversary of Gilda Radner’s death:

Riotous Gilda!
Exuberant, beautiful—
It’s always something.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Today’s haiku, written as I stare longingly out of the newsroom window:

Tuesday, 3:40.
Across Hillsborough River,
Tiki Bar beckons.

Andrew Meadows’ response, in haiku form:

Dave buys the first round,
Seconds thirds fourths fifths. I pay–
Time for a cab ride.

Jerry Stockfisch’s response:

I curse the Tiki Bar for taunting me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Here’s a little senryu about weblogs I wrote for Pauly McGuire:

When you have a blog,
Everything is blogworthy …
Except this haiku.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Just for the hell of it, here’s the plot of “La Boheme” in haiku form:

Joyful poor artists.
Mimi’s hand is freezing cold.
Now she’s dead. Life sucks

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Today’s iPod opera is “Carmen” by Georges Bizet. Here is my synopsis in haiku form:

Time for a smoke break.
Hey, look, it’s the bullfighter!
José kills Carmen.

Miss Cherizon suggested I write a haiku about “Les Misérables.” Here’s what I came up with:

Run away, Cosette!
Here comes the Revolution.

America’s Favorite Personal Finance Writer Scott Nelson suggests more haiku-worthy operas: Verdi’s “La Traviata” and Mozart’s “Le Nozze Di Figaro.”

La Traviata:

used to be called consumption.
Either way, the girl dies.


The count wants his way
With the barber’s fiancee.
Comedy ensues.

Miss Cherizon gets the credit for the last line of this one:

Die Zauberflöte:

On Tamino’s quest,
Papageno finds fowl love.
Magic glockenspiel!

Okay, here’s the last one for today —I swear:

The entire Ring des Nibelungen series:

The fat lady sings.
Her Viking helmet sprouts horns.
Wagner hates the Jews.

Monday, January 20, 2003 (MLK day)

Connor’s dogs are dead.
Ignorance, stupidity,
Are enemies still.

Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Assistant Business Editor Katrina Ferreira brought a box of snack-size candy bars to work today, prompting me to write my first staff haiku in a long time:

All hail Katrina,
Bringer of sugary treats.
Alas, no Twix left.

I hope we get Kit Kat bars next time!

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

It looks like Lord & Taylor is saying bye-bye to the Tampa market. Here’s a haiku that’s made up of snippets of a message Miss Cherizon sent me:

I never shopped there.
Um, did you ever shop there?
Oh wait. Once. That’s it.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

A haiku for Thursday afternoon about my past:

A missed gayness clue:
Social dance course in college.
One, two, three, cha-cha!

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

And now, just for the hell of it, here is a senryu composed entirely of anagrams for “Ohio State Buckeyes” —

Beastie coke youths.
Ethics: yoke to abuse.
I see buttocks, oh yea!

The syllable scheme is 5+6+6, which isn’t perfect haiku form but still adds up to 17. Another good anagram is “Touchiest obese yak.”

1 Actually, that’s a complete and total line of bullshit. I’m posting these to remind Lee Barnes2 that I’m quite proficient with three lines and 17 syllables.
2 That’s right, Barnes. I’m talking to you. Writing one clever haiku about Harley-Davidson owners several years ago doesn’t even put you in the running to be considered as one of the finest haiku writers of your generation! So there.