D103.com: Archive
This is an archived page of D103.com, a daily weblog by Daryl Lang.

Not in good company

» Sterling, my loyal feline companion and the only friend in this city I can count on to be reliable, has launched his own Project Mayhem. If I sleep in late, he just kicks things around the apartment, trying to make as much noise as he can. This morning, I awoke to see that he had unwound all the toilet paper in the bathroom (at least half a roll, if I remember correctly) and scattered it about the bathroom floor. Thanks, dude.

- Daryl

Anyone for a game of toy flying saucer?

» What's up with the word Dumpster? Why is it always capitalized? How about Spackle? Incredibly, both these are registered trademarks. Since neither has a well-known generic synonym, we accept them as regular words, not as brands. For the people who own these trademarks, it's a case of doing such a good job of naming a product that they've totally lost control of its usage. Doh! Other examples: Kleenex, Xerox, Frisbee. That's why the Kleenex and Xerox companies have lawyers who work hard to protect their trademarks and persuade people to use words like "tissue" and "photocopy." As for Frisbee... you could say "flying disc," but who does?

Here's the low-down: Spackle is registered as a U.S. trademark that means "surfacing compound for filling imperfections so as to bring up to a smooth and level surface areas that are to be painted or decorated." It was first used in 1927 and is currently registered to the Muralano Company of Bayonne, New Jersey. Dumpster is registered to mean "containers for receiving, transporting, and dumping materials of various kinds — namely, refuse, trash, garbage, scrap, dirt, and rocks." It was first used in 1936 and is currently registered to Dempster Systems of Knoxville, Tennesee. Frisbee is registered to mean "toy flying saucers for toss games." It was first used in 1957 and is currently registered to Wham-O of Torrance, California.

- Daryl

Those funky monkeys

» I went to another Little Gray Books Lecture last night, the topic of which was animals. I always feel creative and inspired after I listen to other writers who do what I try to do, but do it way better. During the one of last night's readings — by none less than the editor of a news service called Monkeywire — I was reminded of a very basic truth. When your back's to the wall and everything is going to hell, you can never go wrong by telling a joke about monkeys. One of my favorite monkey jokes is this one:

Q: What did the ape say when he learned his sister was pregnant?
A: Well I'll be a monkey's uncle!

Oh man! Know a good monkey joke? Send it here and I'll start a collection.

» E-mail viruses just keep getting weirder. This week, I've started getting ones that say "Dear user of Daryllang.com," and then proceed to tell me my computer has a virus and I must run the attached file in order to erase the viruses. "Cheers! The Daryllang.com Team." These messages don't fool me because I am the Daryllang.com team. This morning, I got another virus e-mail that simply said "kill the writer of this document!" Virus specialists call this kind of thing "social engineering," which is when the virus writers try to write an e-mail that is highly persuasive in getting people to click on the attachment. Don't be tempted by these serpents.

- Daryl

Noted and filed for future reference

» In New York City, you can buy the daily newspaper from Madrid but not the one from Baltimore. The Universal News stand on 42nd Street seems to have a good selection around of out-of-town papers. Rumor has it there's also a good out-of-town newsstand somewhere on Broadway in Soho.

» A rolled-up area rug 5'5" wide will just barely fit in the back of a New York City taxi.

» A cab ride from my office to my apartment, door to door, takes about 50 minutes and costs $15.50.

» There's actually a big, suburban-style shopping mall on 33rd Street in Manhattan. The Manhattan Mall is easy to overlook unless you're trying to find your way out of the Herald Square subway on the side nearest to Penn Station. Inside, the mall is deserted and creepy. There's a Yamaha grand piano that plays itself.

» Reading poetry in front of an audience can be scary, even when it's an audience of friendly church people.

» Whatever else happens, the people in your home state will back you up. Yeeaaargh!

- Daryl

Have you voted today?

» I have a story in today's Baltimore Sun. Click here to read it.

» I find car alarms deeply troubling. On the streets outside my windows, alarms commonly go off several times a day. They split the air with screaming whistles and horns, making it difficult to concentrate, write, sleep, or listen to music. What's more, these noisy alarms do virtually nothing to deter auto theft, while some kinds of silent alarms are much more effective. So far, legal efforts to control loud car alarms have gotten nowhere. We're in danger of a national car alarm crisis.

Ergo, a modest proposal: Let's amend the Constitution. The Federal Vehicle Alarm Amendment would read as follows:

SECTION 1. No motor vehicle driven in the United States shall have an audible anti-theft device installed.

SECTION 2. All such existing devices must be rendered inoperable within one year after the date of ratification of this amendment.

My amendment would guarantee that our communities will be safe from annoying alarms, and that no meddling local officials or activist judges will be able to say otherwise. This amendment is necessary to protect our way of life.

By the way, I don't hate car alarm owners. I just wish, ya know, that they'd keep quiet or go live in some other neighborhood.

- Daryl

Do not adjust your set

» Hello and welcome to a brand new day for the blog! The journal I used to publish on my personal home page is all grown up and out on its own: It's now called D103.com. The new name is inspired by my affection for cheesy Top 40 radio. (Cut me a break, all the good names are taken.) I plan to eventually use my other site, Daryllang.com, to promote my freelance writing. For now, it remains an about-me page and the main clearinghouse for all my web content.

Changes: Obviously, there are some new type styles and colors which I hope are livelier and more readable. There are some new ways to send me feedback — check out those three links at the bottom of this page. All your comments go right to me and I'll use them to make the site better and more interesting. Of lesser interest, my "Three Cool Songs" list has been renamed "Playlist." I've also improved my archiving, so I'll keep more than one day's worth of the journal up on the main page, and archive old journals by week instead of by month. I've added a new Welcome page. Lastly, I hope to continue to improve the quality of the writing I publish in this space. I hope you enjoy it!

As always, thanks so much for reading. It means a lot to me. Regular content resumes tomorrow. See you then!

- Daryl

1. "Feels Like Home" - Nora Jones
2. "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" - Jet
3. "The Reason" - Hoobastank