I've been a Dave Barry fan since he was writing columns about his (now twenty-something) two-year old son doing embarassing things in public places. Now Barry is on a new wife and has a brand new two-year old to write columns about. And he still thinks the word (and presumably the concept of) "booger" is funny. I picked up this book with mixed feelings. He seems to rely more and more on silly humor (boogers, exploding toilets, hilarious names for rock bands) rather than the classic columns of Dave Barry's Bad Habits (my favorite Barry book). And the jackets of his books always have him in some ridiculous pose. I keep saying, "This will be my last Dave Barry book." But Dave Barry always comes through. I read this latest book cover to cover. His comments on the Republican and Democratic conventions were scathing, his observations at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City were deadly, and the serious columns at the end reveal that there is more to Barry than adolescent humor. (His essay from an earlier collection, written after the death of his mother, is a masterpiece.) So I will ignore the goofy cover photos, the inane titles, and the wacky cartoons, and just read what Barry writes -- solid, mostly humorous, essays.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Highly Entertaining and Insightful Book11 Oct. 2003
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Dave Barry is a silly man. He's a silly man with a Pulitzer. He's a silly man whose Miami Herald column is syndicated in 500 newspapers. His silly work has been transformed into a so-so sitcom and a better-than-average movie. He's the author of 25 silly books, the most recent of which is BOOGERS ARE MY BEAT, a silly title if there ever was one. But none of this is news to the legions of Dave Barry fans, a group to which I will unrepentantly proclaim membership. Silliness, you see, is gold, a rare and desirable commodity, especially now as the world cycles through one of those historically inevitable periods in which pretty much everything stinks. Dave Barry's inspired silliness is a reliable antidote to the virus of bad news, news that is often the result of a different, darker kind of silliness on the part of people who, for reasons that often defy both logic and credulity, occupy positions of power --- political, economic, or otherwise. It's a credit to Barry's skill as a writer that the silliness never overtakes the accuracy of his observations and never obscures the brain behind the gags. Barry twists familiar social, cultural and political issues into funny balloon animals and then smacks them with a length of barbed wire, giggling all the while. To Barry, family life, fatherhood, jobs, marriage, politics, business, and whatever else falls under his gaze is a piñata waiting to be punctured. Barry's columns are consistently funny, but he is truly in the zone when he's on assignment, as demonstrated in BOOGERS ARE MY BEAT with his coverage of the Republican and Democratic conventions in 2000 and bizarre end to that year's presidential election. His coverage of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City made me laugh out loud several times while on a city bus, much to the alarm of the other passengers. There have been occasions in his career when Barry has revealed his serious side, and this new collection includes two such examples: a column written the day after the terrorist attacks in September 2001, and another written on the first anniversary of that event. These columns demonstrate his understanding that there is no light without shadow. It is this understanding, perhaps, that drives the relentless silliness of his humor columns. Dave Barry is indeed a silly man, and for that we should be grateful. --- Reviewed by Bob Rhubart
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Solid collection of Barry humor17 Nov. 2003
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Dave Barry is the king of quirky and funny. And with a title like "Boogers Are My Beat: More Lies, But Some Actual Journalism," you know it's gotta be worth looking at. While it's not Barry's strongest collection (it feels a little fragmented), it's still the sort of stuff to split your sides. In this book, Dave starts off with some older columns from the presidential election that will live in infamy (if the mention of dimpled chads make you twitch, these chapters will make you have a seizure). Then he proceeds to spoof, lampoon and chuckle over such things as belligerent turkeys, the Oscars, the perils of fatherhood (and having a birthday party for a two-year-old), determining what the Lone Ranger was saying to his horse (even consulting Stephen King on that), an RV in a Wal-Mart parking lot, moving to a new house (his windows have some sort of window leprosy), using the GOOD TOWELS, being subjected to post-terrorism airport security, and having a sewage station in North Dakota named after him. He finishes up with two nonhumorous columns about September 11th. The "actual journalism" is mostly confined to A) making fun of the Republican and Democratic conventions, and B) covering a swingers' convention. Yes! They do have conventions! Not at the same place as the Dem and Rep cons, though. Sprinkled through it is the same gleeful bathroom humor, gender jokes, anagrams, and weird names for rock bands that he is famous for.The only exception is the final two columns, sensitive, serious, and more or less pinpointing what the average person feels. (These are put at the end, so they won't ruin down the burp-humor before it) One of the big changes is that for "hapless humor," he now focuses on his baby daughter rather than his dogs. The only problem with this collection of columns is that it feels kind of patched together -- first we have election humor from a few years back, then ordinary humor on a variety of topics, then serious stuff. It's more than a little jarring, and makes the book seem shorter than it is. I was a little surprised to see at the end that it was as long (or even longer) than his other works. "Boogers Are My Beat" is a great new serving of Barry humor, even if it has three different flavors and one of them isn't funny. So admire the tasteful cover and settle in to read. A reliable source (defined as "a source wearing business attire") told us to say so!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Dave is still funnier than anybody30 Sept. 2003
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Most Dave Barry fans will have read the contents of this book in the weekly columns, but the stuff is as funny on rereading. The guy is just wonderfully perceptive and has a real knack for anagrams and a genuine concern for rock-and-roll. Replacing his two dogs with his new daughter Sophie brings a refreshing dimension to his work. But I hope he cuts back on Sophie stories about the time she and her playmates learn to read, so that she doesn't become an unwilling celebrity. The book ends with two longer pieces about 9/11 that are quite effective.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Not his best, but still pretty good31 Dec. 2003
Maddi Hausmann Sojourner
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This new Dave Barry collection is a mixed bag 'o boogers. Some of the columns are his usual silliness (and I mean that in the nicest way), where he follows up on Alert Reader Notifications of bizarre events. None of the Alert Readers came up with anything as hysterical as the exploding whale, or quick-starting a barbecue with liquid oxygen (some of his classic columns that bring a DB fan to teary laughter in just THINKING about them) in this book. His best non-assignment piece, in my opinion, was the one on using the DECORATIVE towel as a real towel and upsetting your hostess forever. His analogy of "purely for decoration" was brilliantly off-the-wall: imagine you're in a mechanic's shop, and he needs the (let's say) 7/32" wrench, so you head over to the wall to take it down for him. HOLD IT, those wrenches are PURELY FOR DECORATION! The real wrenches are in the closet! Well, I was laughing out loud at the one. Most of the better columns in this book will be found in his coverage of the two 2000 political conventions (although the recurring motif of journalists in search of parties started to wear thin), the 2000 Election (he observes this is the state that put the "duh" in "Florida"), as well as the 2002 Winter Olympics (which has some great comments about the pairs skating scandal). The miscellaneous columns at the end (other than the DECORATIVE TOWELS) are too formulaic for me, having read too many of his older columns that did the same topics only better. The ones on his 2 year old daughter are pale imitations of the columns he wrote about his son 15 years ago. (Sorry, I'm still snorting over "Rob Barry, report to the Weinermobile.") Although he had one more excellent column in this section, on gift tips for men to buy for women. (Which is more useful, a 72,000 candlepower halogen torch with built-in can-opener, or a one-candlepower candle with bee poop stuck in it?) If you've never read Dave Barry, you could start here, and if you like this book, then when you move on to his classic stuff, you'll enjoy that even more. If you have read him and were getting tired of his schtick, well, here's some more schtick (with the exception of the serious columns at the end) and it's about the same as you'd expect. I'll gladly still read whatever he writes, even if I only smile at most of it instead of busting a gut. But I do thank him so much for the idea of purely decorative wrenches. I'm off to decorate my garage.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Dave and the The Clown Narrator from Hell3 Feb. 2007
Jean E. Pouliot
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I've been reading Dave Barry for years, and have developed my own impression of Dave's comic voice. It is laid back, dry, a little slow-witted and beer-addled, maybe. But it is not the bozo-clone, wacky-happy voice that was chosen to read this compilation of Dave's work. I can only assume that Dave was ball-gagged and duct-taped to his office chair when the auditions were going on. *My* Dave would never have allowed his work to be so hokily performed.
Anyway, "Boogers Are My Beat" is another workmanlike effort from the master of modern comedy. Dave uses his standard comedic formulae (suggesting phrases as good names for rock bands, using outrageous numerical exaggerations and making self-deprecatory remarks about his lack of masculine skills) to actually write some decent material. In spite of Bozo the Narrator, it is still possible to get a few laughs from these columns, which is a testament to the quality of Dave's wit. Dave covers the 2000 Democratic and Republican conventions, where he beats up on silly demonstrators who shout on behalf of "the people.". He climbs a Florida trash heaps with Tenzig Norgay's son, samples the fine products of Grand Forks, ND (a baggie filled with peat) and describes life with his 2-year old Barbie-loving daughter. His piece on driving a new Hummer pokes fun at the price tag and at its hyper-macho gadgetry, including self-inflating tires. Dave avoids direct analysis of politics -- though his endless Bill Clinton jokes (Clinton is a philanderer! Ha! Ha!) seem dated and got on my nerves. But the Office of Homeland Security made a horrible faux-pas (literally, weasel poop) when it picked him, his wife and toddling daughter for an extensive airport screening. What better way to show the ludicrous nature of our screening procedures than to force the 2-year-old child of a famous humor columnist to crawl alone through a metal detector.
Anyway, there are worse ways to experience the comic stylings of Dave Barry. Just kidding -- short of special rendition, this audio CD *is* the worst way. Get the book and record it yourself, even if you are just learning to read. Or just read it the old-fashioned way from the printer page. You'll thank me later. ______________________________ On a more somber note, Dave ends of volume with two of his 9/11-related columns. While he's not a master of global nuance, his columns were full of heartfelt emotions for those who had lost loved ones in the attacks. His evocations of the spirit of Gettysburg (in his reflection on the experience of Flight 93, which crashed into Shanksvillee, PA) were somber and actually quite profound. Not bad for a guy who normal jokes about bodily effusions.