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It's funny.  Laugh. The Internet

Ask Internet Expert Dave Barry 390

This is a man who obviously knows a lot about the Internet. I am not making this up. He wrote a book about it. He has his own blog, his own Web site, and his own online newsgroup with its own FAQ. Not only that, he is in a band and writes a syndicated humor column that often covers matters of interest to Slashdot readers. What are you going to ask him? Up to you, as long as you hold it down to one question per post. We'll send Dave 10 of the highest-moderated questions and post his answers as soon as we get them back, after which we're sure many alert readers will have much to add even if they haven't heard about Bennett Haselton's excellent automated Dave Barry column generator.
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Ask Internet Expert Dave Barry

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  • syndicated "humor" column?
    • Only if you're lacking a sense of "humor". :)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:34PM (#5216504) with the automated Dave Barry column generator [].

      Recently in Slashdot (motto: "CmdrTaco always posts duplicates"), residents reported an outbreak of trolls. Perhaps you think there are no trolls in Slashdot. Perhaps you are an idiot.

      As the French say, au contraire (literally: "In Soviet Russia, other people insult YOU!!"). I have here in my hands a copy of an Associated Press article sent in by alert reader Anonymous Coward., whose name can be rearranged to spell "ADNROANWYOMCO US", although that is not my main point. "Anonymous Coward", by the way, only has the letters "Naked and Petrified" in in common with "Alyssa Milano", so there is no other reason to mention Alyssa Milano in this column.

      According to a quote which I am not making up, from Slashdot Mayor CowboyNeal (formally "Mayor CowboyNeal" and informally "G-Dog"), trolls ranks as a major crisis just behind fear, anger and hate (insert your "dark side" joke here), as evidenced by the following conversation between Slashdot government employees:

      FIRST SLASHDOT POSTER: "Imagine a beowulf cluster of those!"

      SECOND SLASHDOT POSTER: "Mod parent +5 (Insightful)."

      THIRD SLASHDOT POSTER: "Mod parent down."

      Fortunately I have a suggestion for Mayor G-Dog, and that is: take away George Steinbrenner's computer.

      No, seriously, my suggestion does not involve George Steinbrenner's computer, although it might involve laughing at Tobacco Institute scientists. My suggestion is more along the lines of a coup de grace, from the French coup, meaning "solving", and de grace, meaning "problems". The procedure (you may want to write this down):

      1. 1. Sell free software to rich kids for $1/byte.
      1. 2. ...
      1. 3. Profit!

      But instead the Slashdot city council (motto: "We'll help people when you pry the TPS report out of our cold, dead fingers") thinks that they (the trolls) will always post off topic soon, sending this message to the public, and to the world: "First Post!".

      Speaking of which, "The Slashdot Trolls Outbreak" would be a great name for a rock band.

  • Question: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ( 637314 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:05PM (#5215990) Homepage Journal
    In what way will the internet change daily life in the months and years to come - will we see an increasing amount of wireless access on phones with web content to follow? Online Voting? 3d porn? What are your predictions?
  • Big Trouble (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kin_korn_karn ( 466864 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:08PM (#5215998) Homepage
    How did you feel when the studio refused to release the film of "Big Trouble" after 9/11? Did you think it appropriate to hold the release?
  • by MadCow-ard ( 330423 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:08PM (#5216002)
    The Tooth phone []. I would just love to hear (arh arh) his take on it.
  • Childhood dream? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by coldmist ( 154493 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:09PM (#5216004) Homepage

    So, when you were a little kid, were you the class clown type, where all of your humor come naturally and you flaunted it in the lunchroom or in the halls, whether everyone else was laughing at you or not?

    Seriously, did you want to become a humourous writer/author when you were a child? When did you realize it could be a viable career?

  • Dave's World (Score:4, Interesting)

    by doc_traig ( 453913 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:10PM (#5216012) Homepage Journal
    Recently it was announced that Tony Kornheiser, another well-known columnist, might be the subject of a situation comedy going into development. Were you pleased overall with how you were portrayed in the television series based on your life, Dave's World? [] How did you feel when it left the air? Is it in syndication anywhere these days?

  • When you vote.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:10PM (#5216014)
    When you vote, do you vote for the candidate that is going to make your job easier as a humor columnist? Or do you actually try to vote for the best canditate?

  • Fair Use (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Overt Coward ( 19347 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:11PM (#5216024) Homepage
    What are your (as opposed to your publisher's) opinion on the subject of fair use as it applies to your weekly column? Do you have a problem with people qoting parts (or all) of it in email and via their web sites?
  • Hiroshima (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:13PM (#5216030)
    Mr. Barry... I own several of your books, as well as a copy of the 'Big Trouble' movie. (I hope you're getting some kind of royalties for that...). In all of your writing, the piece that I felt was the most powerful was your segment on visting Hiroshima in 'Dave Barry does Japan' and witnessing the holiday celbrated in rememberance of the bombing.

    You've written a few more very serious pieces, such as the column on your visit to one of the 9-11 crash sites.

    My question is why do you not do more serious columns and articles like these more often? While I think that your columns and humor articles are great (milk-through the nose funny, frequently) I can't help but feel that the Hiroshima and 9-11 articles were better.
  • by Argyle ( 25623 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:14PM (#5216038) Homepage Journal
    Many celebrities present a technologically aloof public persona.

    A few, like you, Wil, Bill Shatner, Moby, Adam Curry, etc. openly embrace technology and don't fear the 'geek' label.

    What's your take on the state of celebrity & personal technology. Are most celebrities to dumb to run a Tivo or use eBay?
  • by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) <shadow,wrought&gmail,com> on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:15PM (#5216042) Homepage Journal
    Do you think that the phrase "Slashdot Effect" would make a great name for a band?
  • by Nonsanity ( 531204 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:15PM (#5216047)

    Looking forward based on today's cutting-edge research (the sort of news Slashdot often reports), what technology do you find yourself impatient to get your hands on today, or which technologies aren't advancing as fast as you would wish?


  • by govtcheez ( 524087 ) <> on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:16PM (#5216049) Homepage
    I've read your various comlumns on how to turn an ordinary toaster into a flamethrower using only a strawberry Pop-Tart. I think there's a large market for this - would you be interested in mass producing pastry-powered weapons with me? If you're against the idea of creating weapons, do you know how we could make the flame-throwing toaster into something else useful, perhaps having welding applications? I think it's safe to say a successful New Economy will be based upon Pop-Tarts, and we should really move to it before it's too late.
    • by Autonymous Toaster ( 646656 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:41PM (#5216551) Homepage

      Mr. Barry,

      Like others, I have heard of your Pop Tart experiments, and I was quite distressed by them. Since your first mention of this subject was (I believe) some years ago in

      • Dave Barry in Cyberspace
      , I'm curious to know whether you've since renounced your toastercidal ways. Do you now have remorse for the harm you've done and the example you've set for the children of the world?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What has become of Mr. Chuckletrousers, both the friend you directed that name towards and the real life Chuckletrousers?

    I am typing this on the Intarnet!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:17PM (#5216059)
    Dave, what is the status of your brave and lonely campaign to rescind the low-flow toilet legislation?
    • There was actually a King of the Hill episode where low-flow toilets were introduced, and Hank hated them because you had to flush multiple times to dispose of the waste (thus negating any environmental benefits).

      Turned out the company that sponsored the law was the producer of low-flow toilets.

      I wonder if this sitcom plot has any basis in reality? Dave? What has your research found?

  • by Salo2112 ( 628590 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:18PM (#5216061)
    Can you forsee a day where you as an established columnist will publish all of your books and columns via your own web page and not via creator's syndicate (or whoever you use)?
  • Question (Score:3, Funny)

    by niom ( 638987 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:20PM (#5216071)
    Why do you use italics so much?
  • by RealBeanDip ( 26604 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:20PM (#5216079)
    From your blog:

    "I have an odd little connection to the Columbia: It once carried a book of mine into space."

    That is very cool. I've read some of your books and columns over the years and find your work very, very funny.

    My question is this; humorists such as yourself can sometimes find humor in the most horrific of events. How do you find humor in events that are obviously touchy? Do you think finding humor in something like this will help people heal?
  • by Bendebecker ( 633126 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:21PM (#5216080) Journal
    Seeing how he's now dead, do you think we have seen the end of Dick Nixon's political career?
  • Who are we? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chrysrobyn ( 106763 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:21PM (#5216081)

    Mr. Barry,

    As a nationally syndicated author, you're in quite a high profile position. I have no doubt that, had this interview not come up, you'd be busy doing things you get paid to do.

    That said, why did you agree to do this interview? Did you think it would be a neat thing to do? Is this another way for people to learn about your column, or are you learning more about what's on the minds of your readers? Are we going to get our own article written about us (no doubt that would be a funny and possibly humbling experience)? As someone from "the outside world", do you see us as a bunch of people with wide backgrounds and experiences, or are we the teenage boy group that TV tells us owns and authors the internet?

  • by ( 316593 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:21PM (#5216084) Homepage
    A lot goes on in peoples lives, whether it's horrible events (such as 9/11 or recently the space shuttle blowing up), or personal events (we've all had these). Do you ever find yourself having trouble being funny, and what do you do to cure this problem?
    • by hether ( 101201 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:45PM (#5217056)
      I believe he somewhat answer this in his web page FAQ for students:

      Do you ever sit down to write your weekly column and just not feel like being funny? What do you do?
      I often don't feel funny; I just keep at it, and eventually something appears.

      People posting questions should definitely check the FAQ's first, links to the two are here []
  • by gornar ( 572285 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:23PM (#5216090)
    Sure, Bush is passing hundreds of millions of dollars for research into hydrogen fuel cell technology to halt dependence on oil. But what about experts' [] claims that supplies of The Internet will run dry by 2018? Do you, as America's foremost lobbyist to Congress, know of any pending legislation to address this threat?
  • Contingency (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:23PM (#5216091)
    One question per post... ehehe....

    Mr. Barry, as we all know, the Internet is slowly killing paper news media, along with cable news. Internet news sites can carry more material, archive it an available format longer, and can target the news to a much finer-grained audience than a newspaper can hope to do. Humour in the form of comic strips or humour articles like yours can come in a much-wider array of content, and can be targeted at any subject or audiences accustomed to any level of acceptable content.

    My local paper recently began to distribute free copies in an effort to revive spiraling circulation rates. This signals to me that all but the largest papers are beginning to feel the pinch from internet news and media distribution most keenly. I suspect that in the near future, only the largest papers will survive (MH possibly being one of those) and that online news sources will be accepted as the preferred method for news delivery.

    Assuming that your job as a columnist for a paper should go away, what contingency plans do you have to continue to ply your craft in a completely wired world? (I already read your columns online rather than in the print version of the MH or my local paper.)
  • Have you ever had to describe your Internet persona? For example, when someone asks you at a party about what you do on the web, do you say something like "Yeah, I'm the Captain Kirk of the Internet!"?
  • Obvious Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:27PM (#5216108) Journal
    What would be your ideal solution for Spam (as in Internet Junk E-mail?)

    I've had a good response to the idea of an internet spammer hunting license or season, complete with cute orange ear tags for the spammers.

  • by theghost ( 156240 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:30PM (#5216123)
    Dave - I keep hearing people complain about "privacy issues" when they talk about the internet. Since you're an Expert, i thought i'd ask you about it. What are these "privacy issues" and should we be worried about them?

    I also wanted to ask about SPAM, since you are an Expert. I got lots of neat offers for goods and services every day, from sexually adventurous women (and men, and women and men, and animals, and women and animals, and men and animals, and women and men and animals, and turnips, and - you get the picture) to desperate Nigerians who need help moving their family fortunes out of their war-torn country. But i've never received any SPAM. What is SPAM (besides a tasty treat) and why is everyone always complaining about it?

    One final question. You are an Expert who is in a band and has been involved with movies. Are the RIAA and MPAA really a bunch of soul-sucking ghouls whose Machiavellian business practices enslave artists and consumers alike just so that the top executives can buy new multi-million-dollar penises (penisii?) - i mean - homes and cars, or are they a bunch of fun-loving nuts who just want people to enjoy high-quality art (like the sci-fi thriller, "Jason X", and the equally astounding, "Britney Spears' Breasts") at a reasonable price, so they can devote their much-deserved income to feeding the hungry, and promoting liberty and justice for all?

    Shameless (yet really totally sincere) brown nosing: DAVE BARRY RULEZ!
    • Yes, i know, "one question per post." You can either pick your favorite or you can just assume that this is my real question:

      Dave - I think you're pretty funny and i think i'm pretty funny. This is me trying to be funny. Would you please try to be funny in response to this?
  • by duckpoopy ( 585203 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:30PM (#5216126) Journal
    Are you going to reprint the stupidest questions in your column?
  • How much fame? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cpeikert ( 9457 ) <> on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:31PM (#5216130) Homepage

    are you often recognized "on the street"? What I mean is, you're obviously very famous and have tons of fans. But at the same time, I get the sense that you have more of a "cult" following and maybe aren't as well-recognized as, say, Ben Affleck or Chris Rock. Do you have to change your daily routine to avoid being swarmed by adoring fans, or do or do you enjoy relative anonymity in your daily life?

    PS - you recently wrote that Michigan ranked among the stupidest states because we have an "official state soil." I heartily agree, but boy did your column provoke some angry letters in the Kalamazoo Gazette!
  • Blogs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr Guy ( 547690 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:32PM (#5216137) Journal
    As a newspaper columnist, noted author, and booger specialist, is the concept of privacy a major issue for you? Do you have trouble reconciling your desire for privacy with having millions of people intimately familiar with your life (Ie Your articles on your son getting hit by a car almost brought me to tears, in the same way we all felt like we as a nation knew Bill Cosby's son)?
  • Question (Score:2, Funny)

    by Jim Buzbee ( 517 )

    Are you making these questions up?
  • ... that "Dave's World" will start airing on "Nick at Night"?
  • Government (Score:4, Funny)

    by cpeikert ( 9457 ) <> on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:34PM (#5216146) Homepage

    you've written many hilarious columns about the foibles of the Federal Government. Isn't this like shooting fish in a barrel?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:35PM (#5216150)
    Does it make people stupid? For example, during the shuttle tragedy, you could tell who watched a lot of TV that day. Those people sounded like the news anchormen. Big fluffy, hollow, rambling, pseudo-emotional statements. Regular human beings don't talk like that to each other.
  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:36PM (#5216152) Homepage Journal
    Mac or PC?

    Linux or Windows?
  • Returning to movies? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:37PM (#5216154) Homepage
    Mr. Barry:

    I was rather surprised and impressed by the random out-of-nowhere short story near the end of the Dave Barry in Cyberspace book, and have been kind of wondering since then what would happen if you tried to write anything in a longer format than the standard columns. ( Big Trouble sounds really cool, but I haven't gotten around to picking up a copy yet :) )

    Anyway, my question is: Do you have plans to write any more fiction, and is it possible we could see any more movies from you in the future after what happened with Big Trouble?

    And do you still write newspaper articles for the Herald outside the scope of the column?

    • Big Trouble was excellent, and his latest, Tricky Business was excellent as well.

      If you love his columns, you'll love his novels, just be forewarned that the characters are Adult People, and use Adult Language (like Spanish).

      The plots are good, the subplots are good, and the humor is both subtle and boogeresque. Something for everyone mature enough to be immature.
  • by evenprime ( 324363 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:39PM (#5216162) Homepage Journal
    What's it like playing in a band with Stephan King? Is he always trying to change the set list at gigs and replace 'Louie Louie' with goth music?
  • Dear Dave.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 )
    I was greatly impressed with Dave Barry Does Japan. I had the luck to meet you and and ask if you had any plans to travel Europe and give it a similar treatment. You indicated no plans to, but I'd like to know if you have since changed your mind (or your publisher has), or if you're most comfortable in the U.S. (and/or Cyberspace) and plan to focus your creative energies there.

    A longtime reader and fan

  • Cliche central (Score:5, Interesting)

    by seizer ( 16950 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:40PM (#5216169) Homepage
    Someone's got to ask this kind of cliched question so why not me? It'll give you a chance to untap some of those as yet untapped humour reserves :-)

    If you could meet any person, dead or alive, fictional or real, then who would it be, and what would you talk about?
  • High Tech wizzardry (Score:2, Interesting)

    by McSnickered ( 67307 )
    Dear Dave,

    Do you have any plans to follow up your spine-tingling Man vs. Machine anagram contest with other Man vs. Technology competitions?

    Very Truly Yours,
  • So... Like... You know that one column, you know - that column? Yeah, I'm pretty sure you know what I'm talking about.

    Anyway, was that - uh - you know, real? I mean, really real? Or were you all fakin' and stuff - 'cause I wouldn't feel bad if you had to - you know, fake it. It's not like it's something to be ashamed of. Just thought I'd ask.


    Breaking hearts and crashing computers since - hey, Modern Marvels is on. Cool.
  • by h2oliu ( 38090 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:44PM (#5216186)
    As you grow older, start having children, etc. Has you view on the internet adn all of these tools changed dramatically? For example, now that you have a child, does better parental controls appeal to you more?
  • Question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:46PM (#5216191)
    Corporations, more and more every day, claim they made the internet. They are trying to convince the masses that if it wasn't for them, the intenet wouldn't had existed in the first place and that "it's just another one of their great services".

    But the only thing corporations have contributed to the internet is pollution in the search engines, silly banners, spam, DNS confusion, etc.

    What is you opinion on this?
    DO you belive that one day in 100 years from now, history will be so twisted that our grandchildren will believe that Al Gore made the internet?
  • Life imitating humor (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mttlg ( 174815 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:50PM (#5216218) Homepage Journal
    With so many aspects of our society bringing absurdity to new levels, have you ever written a humor article that ran the risk of the label "It would be funny if it weren't true"? Is there a point at which people will become so desensitized to humor through the sheer mass of stupidity and insanity that defines humanity that you could find yourself out of a job?
  • Urinals (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kaz Riprock ( 590115 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:52PM (#5216234)

    If there are 4 urinals in the bathroom and I number them from the left, assuming that 1 and 3 are in use, which urinal should I use to abide by the rules?
    • It depends. (Score:5, Funny)

      by An Onerous Coward ( 222037 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:05PM (#5216753) Homepage
      If you're:

      a) very secure and self-confident.
      b) late for a meeting.
      c) about to explode.

      Then it is permissible to use #4 (assuming that no toilet stalls are open). Just remember that people will assume you are:

      d) not a heterosexual.*

      However, if you do not fit the first three criteria, you are required to stand back and wait for either urinals 1 or 3 to open up, while not actually looking like you're waiting. It is recommended that you use either the Handwashing Feint or the Hair Check Gambit. Your bathroom peers will assume you are either a hypochondriac or really vain, but either is preferable to looking like you're too chicken to just march up into the line.

      Under NO condition are you allowed to use urinal #3.

      I hope this clears up your question.

      * Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  • Politics & Humor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mshomphe ( 106567 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:52PM (#5216235) Homepage Journal
    Leaving aside your occasional run for president, your columns (and sense of humor in general) are fairly apolitical. Is there a reason that your humor is more -- well, not mundane, but grounded -- in terms of subject (e.g., the pains of turning forty), rather than political/esoteric?
  • Why does my cat hate me?
  • Tricky Business (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mr_feta ( 521181 )
    I've kept up with your humour books for some time (I started with Dave Barry Slept Here). Out of the blue I find myself with a copy of Tricky Business this past Christmas. I looked at my girlfriend and said "You're kidding right?" I mean... Dave Barry... write serious fiction? C'mon! (I didn't know about Big Trouble until I read TB's introduction)

    But, I was pleasantly surprised. I plowed right through it. Good (if somewhat light) book.

    Do you have any plans to keep up with more titles in this genre? Any currently in the works? As I read it, I couldn't help thinking that Tricky Business would make a pretty good made-for-TV movie. Any plans to push this to the small screen?
  • by digitalhermit ( 113459 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @01:58PM (#5216278) Homepage
    You should remember me. I'm the guy that shook hands with you that day, two years ago, during the Tropic Hunt in Hollywood. You also signed the napkin I found near the garbage can. I know that it was a clue, but I don't understand why you didn't mention it when you read off the official answers to the Hunt. Clearly the contents were a reference to your many columns on boogers. I still have that napkin and will return it to as soon as you send me your home address.

    Anyway, my question is:
    How has your life changed since you won a Pullet Surprise? Is the fame and money and gorgeous babes throwing themselves at your feet worth it?


    PS How much do I need to pay you to get my name in one of your next columns?
  • by long_john_stewart_mi ( 549153 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:06PM (#5216319)
    In "Dave Barry's Greatest Hits", there was an column entitled "Public-Spirited Citizens Such As You" where you talk about a joke that answers the question, "Why is Walter Mondale nicknamed 'Fritz'?" You ask that everybody write in to The Joke Tracking Center as soon as they hear the joke. I haven't heard the joke, and that question has been keeping me up all night for the past 10 years. Why is Walter Mondale nicknamed Fritz? Also, does The Joke Tracking Center employ bad joke/pun writers? My dad is currently unemployed, and I'm sure he would fit right in.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:06PM (#5216321)
    You've made numerous mentions throughout your writings that you have a large main dog and an emergency backup dog. Given the failure rate of dogs, do you think this is a good policy? How do you handle situations where both dogs fail simultaneously? How many dogs would you have to own in order to maintain a minimum of one functional dog for a period of eight hours?

    Also: Have you considered a Beowulf cluster of dogs?
  • by Zech Harvey ( 604609 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:15PM (#5216376)

    I read your book on the Internet long ago and found it at the same time humorous and poignant. The thing that I still remember is the story at the end illustrating the beginnings of an online relationship. Those relationships seemed to have been all the rage during the public's adoption of the Internet, do you think the Internet still has the capacity to allow people to interact in the same fashion? Or do you think that something in the nature of people or the Internet has changed to make those relationships unfeasible?
  • Dear Dave,
    Once you characterized Miami's endemic corruption (and here I would like to note that Endemic Corruption is a good name for a rock band) was so pervasive that Miami would benefit by being taken over by the Mafia, since then at least COMPETENT criminals would be running the city. In light of that, I'd like to ask you: What's the strangest thing you've ever lit on fire?

    Whoops, sorry, that was the FBI Carnovore guys monitoring my computer who slipped that last one in. (Motto: "You're Not Authorized to Know Our Motto.") No, the real question is, has Miami's corruption gotten better or worse since you wrote that, and what would you and Carl Hiaasen do if Miami eliminated its Supersized Corruption and merely went with the Small Corruption with Fries enjoyed by other large American cities?

  • by Sinjun ( 176671 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:18PM (#5216395)
    As a long time fan who has read just about everything you have written, I have wondered what it is like for you when you tackle 'serious issues.' At the end of your 'Cyberspace' book you wrote a surprisingly poignant and subtly emotional look at an unsatisfied housewife experimenting with an online romance. It brought to mind, in the tone and 'feel,' some of what Louis Grizzard, the great humorist, used to write on occasion. It seems like humor columnits have some deep-seeded ability to write in a remarkably moving way at times. What is it that humorists have that can make their writing so insightful about the less humorous aspects of life?
  • Band Names (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lechter ( 205925 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:24PM (#5216431)

    You've mentioned a lot of good suggestions for names for Bands in your columns. What would you say are bad potential (existing?) band names? And what differentiates them?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:28PM (#5216449)
    Hey Dave,

    I'm curious about what you think about humour (Canadian spelling) in times of crises. Just before 9/11, I read Bob Hope's autobiography dealing with Pearl Harbour and how important everyone thought it was to keep people laughing because a) it was important for moral and b) it was important to show the Japanese that they hadn't destroyed what it meant to be American.

    This doesn't seem to be the case at all after 9/11 (and most recently the loss of Columbia), with the most glaring example being the removal of the Spider-Man trailer (catching a helicopter in a web strung between the two World Trade towers).

    What are you thoughts on this and of humour in times of crises in general?

    myke predko (not so Anonymous Coward)
  • by LittleGuy ( 267282 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:28PM (#5216451)
    What, exactly, is "The WeeWee of Triumph" [], and when shall we see it next?
  • PR war? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:29PM (#5216464)
    Mr. Barry,

    I don't read your website except for it being on /. today. At 1 of the links you were discussing an article about the first Gulf War being a based on a phony PR campaign. I am interested to know if you feel the same way about building tensions in the Mid-East.

    As an American living in Europe, I am constantly bombarded with questions about US foreign policy and war with Iraq. I am personally against war but feel the US is justified in trying to remove Saddam from power and feel that it will benefit the people in the long run. Although most Europeans are anit-war (or just anti-US), a few of my friends from Afghanistan and Azerbaijan seem to feel as I do. What do you think?
  • by scruffy ( 29773 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:30PM (#5216472)
    Do you prefer KDE or GNOME?

    Do you have a broadband connection? Do you have a wireless network?

    Do you think RMS is the messiah or a Communist? Do you spell Linux "GNU/Linux"?

    Do you prefer the GPL or BSD license?

    Do you think Microsoft is evil? Do you think Bill Gates is the devil personified?

    BTW, the correct answer to all of the above questions is yes.

  • by wcbarksdale ( 621327 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:31PM (#5216477)
    In my local paper, they replaced your column with one about sex. Have you considered the possibility of broadening your appeal by including weekly advice on cunnilingus?
  • Of all the people... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by InfinityWpi ( 175421 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:31PM (#5216478)
    ...why pick Harry Anderson to play the guy 'loosely' based on you in a sitcom 'loosely' based on you? Who were the runners-up?
  • by BattyMan ( 21874 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:32PM (#5216482) Journal
    soooo many annoying flashing things, NONE
    of which have any relation to you or your

    Are those supposed to be of some benefit?

    Scientific studies have repeadedly shown
    that Netizens (particularly SlashDotters)

    1. Block these things in the first place
    2. Hit Esc or other such to MAKE THEM STOPP!!
    3. Leave a website immediately when they see so many.
  • Is it painfull (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:40PM (#5216541) Homepage Journal
    Is it painfull to read all these attempts at asking a 'funny' question?

  • When will it end? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DirkDaring ( 91233 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:42PM (#5216566)

    I have been reading your articles and books for longer than I care to remember. I've read about your son growing up, your dogs, your relocations, vacations and everything else under the sun. When will the last article 'So Long, I Retire' by Dave Barry come up?
  • Steven King (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fruity1983 ( 561851 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:47PM (#5216619)
    Is Steven King a good singer? He always seems like such an uptight guy.

    Is he mellow and meek?

    Or does he rage?
  • by Trevalyx ( 627273 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:49PM (#5216629) Homepage
    Favorite Barry article of all time, had to plug it.
    You fall a close second to my favorite author of all time, the sadly-passed Douglas Adams, author of the magnificent "Hitch-Hiker's Guide" series. It makes me wonder, who was/is your favorite author of all time? And did this person have any influence on your writings?
    "Don't Panic"
  • by Amazing Quantum Man ( 458715 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:52PM (#5216653) Homepage
    Is there anything which you HAVE made up/

    We are not making up this question.
  • Question. (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:54PM (#5216677) Homepage Journal

    Mr. Barry,

    There have been monumental events during which people can recall exactly where they were when the incident happened. Notable examples include:

    - The JFK assassination
    - The moon landing
    - The Challenger and Columbia incidents

    My question is: where were you when Al Gore invented the Internet?
  • by Andy Bob ( 647015 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @02:59PM (#5216699)
    As the owner of the domain I'm curious to hear your thoughts about what kind of Internet sites we need more of? There is currently nothing on this site, and you now have the power to influence the creation of additional Internet content. Pretend you have a desire to visit What kind of content would you like to see when you arrive?

    If you do not answer this question in a thoughtful manner I will be forced to post large, outdated pictures of my children next to a blinking and hideously ugly "Website Under Construction" image. And no, I do not need your help with this so that I can complete a school project.

    - - BTW, thanks for all the good "work" you do!

  • Second-hand Fame (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Slightly Askew ( 638918 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:06PM (#5216761) Journal

    In your articles, changing the names to protect the innocent doesn't seem to be a concern. Has this ever caused legal problems or tension with your friends? For example, do your neighbors Steele and Bobbette ever share any interesting anecdotes about running into Dave Barry fans? Thanks for taking the time to answer.


    My favorite sig: "...I'd rather have my appendix removed by baboons weilding unsterilized tuna can lids..." -- Dave Barry

  • Important question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by An Onerous Coward ( 222037 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:12PM (#5216797) Homepage

    I've come to the conclusion that the single worst song of all time is "My Sharona" by Knack. Observe:
    My Sharona by Knack

    Oo my little pretty one, pretty one
    When you gonna give me some time, Sharona?
    Oo you make my motor run, my motor run
    Gun it coming off of the line, Sharona
    Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
    I always get it up with a touch of the younger kind
    My-ee ey-ee by-ee ahee ah woo!
    Ma ma ma my Sharona
    Come a little closer, over here
    Close enough to look in my eyes, Sharona
    Keep a little mystery, kissin' me
    Runnin' down the length of my thigh, Sharona
    Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
    I always get it up from a touch of the younger kind
    My-ee ey-ee by-ee ahee ah woo!
    Ma ma ma my Sharona
    Ma ma ma my Sharona
    When ya gonna get to me, get to me
    Is it just a matter of time, Sharona
    Is it a destiny, a destiny
    Or is it just a game in my mind, Sharona
    Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
    I always get it up from a touch of the younger kind
    My-ee ey-ee by-ee ahee ah woo!
    Ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma
    Myee ey-ee by-ee ahee ah woo!
    Ma ma ma my Sharona
    Ooooh my Sharona

    What is the best way to cope with a bad song in your head? I personally favor slapping my forehead with my palm while shouting "Out! Out! Out!" but I've heard that some people have had great success by stabbing their shoulder with an ice pick.

    As an expert on bad songs, I'm sure your insights into this matter can help alleviate a great deal of human suffering.
  • by Slightly Askew ( 638918 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:16PM (#5216824) Journal

    2004 Presidential ticket:

    Dave Barry, President

    Scott Adams, Vice President

    Seriously, have you ever thought about working to change society instead of just making fun of it? You've shown you have a keen sense of what is important (boogers and sex), what is wrong (kids on planes), and how to fix it (buy random parts from appliance store). I'd vote for you.

    The uncondensed sig, in honor of Dave: "I'm sorry, John, but my time is precious to me, and frankly I would rather have my appendix removed by baboons wielding unsterilized tuna-can lids than spend so much as five minutes listening to you and Elaine as you once again describe, item by item, in intricate detail, the late-night buffet on the cruise you took in 1983." -- Dave Barry

  • Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by utdpenguin ( 413984 ) <> on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:49PM (#5217099) Homepage
    A frequent motif in your weekly columns has been "this would be a great name for a rock band." E.g. ``Pain and Suffering?'' and Weasel Feet.'' My question is: are you aware of any band that has taken one of your suggestions to heart and named themselves after one of them?
  • by BornInASmallTown ( 235371 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @03:51PM (#5217128)
    When you say you're not making this up, are you making it up?

    C'mon Dave, you can tell me.
  • by wmorrow ( 16909 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:00PM (#5217193) Homepage
    Hi Dave,
    In your opinion, does the Internet allow you to be more creative, or does the sheer volume of stuff out there just lead you to rehash existing material? How much surfing do you do?
  • by Snork Asaurus ( 595692 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @04:32PM (#5217440) Journal

    Despite my best efforts, I own many of your books, read your weekly columns, have several low-flow toilets and twice as many plungers. I also have the mp3's of your band "The Rock Bottom Remainders" from You might want to consider the name "The Low Flow Remainders" if you get my drift (and I am certainly tired of getting it). By the way, "Tupperware Blues" smokes - were you on vacation that day?

    And (I am not making this up) I used to own a copy of the LP (note to Slashdotters-look "LP" up in your history books) by your original band "The Federal Duck" which I kept it in my garden shed to scare the spiders away. I had to get rid of the LP because my neighbors kept complaining that it was keeping their property values down so, 10 years ago, I gave it to a deeply disturbed record collector friend of mine. Ever since, the shed has been infested with spiders and my friend has refused to talk to me.

    As you can see, my life is hell and most roads lead back to you. You will be hearing from my lawyers.

    Now that that is out the way, I'd like to ask you the following:

    Do you think that low-flow toilets are a terrorist device (possibly developed in France) and on a related note that Bush and the Saddam Destroyers would be a good name for a rock band?

  • by Snork Asaurus ( 595692 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @05:19PM (#5217923) Journal
    My father first put me on to your column in the newspaper and I have been reading it for over 10 years since. One of the things that I feel solidified my fandom (and persuaded me to purchase several of your books in the last 6-7 years) was finding and reading copies of your old columns on web sites and in newsgroups. 7 or 8 years ago, they were very easy to find.

    Recently, I looked for a specific old column to forward to a potential future fan (who had an experience that you wrote about) and discovered that is now almost impossible to find your older works on the 'net. It looks like someone has been pursuing the copyright issue. I could therefore only vaguely describe the column to him and a potential convert may have been lost.

    So, in light of that and all that is going on with respect to the value of intellectual property rights and copyright vs. the marketing potential of having old works freely available, what is your view?

  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @05:37PM (#5218129) Journal
    Can someone please tell me why they enjoy Dave Berry's work?

    I was given a copy of the DB book mentioned above -- from a nongeek friend -- because it was 'sooo funny'. I have tried many times to read it. I know DB is a fairly popular writer, and having managed to mildly enjoy some of his short articles - i tried again recently... its just not working for me.

    I find DBs humour sophomoric, trite and obvious. The smug literary equivalent of Martha Stewart, I found the work to be like the film "Dumb and Dummer" in print. Funny like a fart in church, DB must appeal to those who need their witticisms spoon fed to them.

    Im sorry for having to dissent here, but to those who havnt read Dave Berry: I suggest you keep it that way.

  • Kevin (Score:3, Funny)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @06:40PM (#5218659)
    Dave: How funny do you think it is that Kevin Mitnick has blown off /.'s request for Q & A?
  • by EMIce ( 30092 ) on Monday February 03, 2003 @10:53PM (#5220264) Homepage
    I've heard you went to Pleasantville high school in New York, which is also where I happend to have graduated from. It is rumored that you and a group of students once dissasembled a Volkswagen Beetle, carried it into the building, and re-assembled it in senior hall as a prank. Is this true?

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard