Harris: We welcome to our guest line author and columnist Dave Barry, who has a new book out that is both Windows and Mac compatible. It’s called Dave Barry in Cyberspace. Good morning, Dave.
Harris: Great to have you back on the show, it’s been a few years. Last time, you and a bunch of other writers were in town with your rock n’ roll band and you were playing at The Bayou. You and Steven King, and who else was part of that group?
Barry: Amy Tan, Matt Groening from The Simpsons, and a whole bunch of people.
Harris: Does the band still exist? Are you still rocking?
Barry: Well, sort of. There’s not a tremendous demand for this band because we’re bad. We are really bad. One of the authors is Roy Blunt Jr., and he came up with the best description of our music. We play “hard listening music.”
Barry: We try to play songs that are so familiar to the American people that even when WE play them, the audience recognizes them eventually. About the 3rd verse they’ll go, “Oh! They’re trying to play Louie Louie!” Although, one time Bruce Springsteen played with us.
Harris: You’re kidding!
Barry: No, I’m serious. We were at an American Book Sellers Association convention in Los Angeles.
Harris: The last place I would expect Springsteen to show up.
Barry: I know, but he did because one of the guys in the band…his wife was Springsteen’s agent or something. I don’t know. I turn around, our last song is Gloria, which is a very simple song. Anybody that’s ever been in a garage band knows that if you pick a guitar up and throw on the ground, it will all by itself play Gloria. It is not a complicated song. Anyway, I had to go over to Springsteen, who was strapping on a guitar, my guitar, and say, “Bruce…do you know Gloria?” (laughs)
Barry: So I am one of the few people in the world who can say that I sang lead and had Bruce Springsteen back me up.
Harris: That’s great. If Bruce can’t pick up Gloria, he shouldn’t pick up the guitar.
Barry: He can handle it, and we would have let him be in the band, but he never wrote a book.
Harris: (laughs) Well, the new book is very funny, and you have actually been in cyberspace for a while.
Harris: What was the first computer you ever had?
Barry: I had a Radio Shack computer way back at the beginning. It was called a Model 3, and God knows what models 1 and 2 were. It looked kind of like a toaster oven, but it was actually less intelligent. You could do more data processing with a toaster oven than you could with this computer. Basically what I could do is turn it on, and then later on, I could turn it back off. That was the main kind of activity I performed with it. So it was well worth the $2000 it cost. And it’s been a long string of that for me ever since.
Harris: Now, of course, you are probably upgraded to Windows 95.
Barry: I got Windows 95, so like most of the American public, I can now simultaneously play solitaire and another game while I’m supposed to be working. That’s what we call multi-tasking, and it has really changed my life. I am able to waste time faster than ever before thanks to Windows 95.
Harris: That’s great. Do you do a lot of internet surfing?
Barry: Yeah, I do get on the internet. One of the things I talk about in the book is the various bizarre web sites. Have you guys seen some of the stuff that’s out there?
Harris: Sure, and we have our own homepage.
Barry: Of course you do. You and Bob Dole and everyone else in the human race.
Harris: By the way, our address is also www.BobDoleBobDoleBobDoleBobDole.com!
Barry: Dot ORG!(laughs)
Barry: You know, I wasn’t sure whether Bob was giving his web address at that point or having some kind of seizure. “ORG!” Anyway, there are some incredible web sites. There’s a web site devoted to The Captain and Tenille, did you know that?
Barry: It’s really good because it lists their personal appearances, which means that if you plan your life properly, you will be somewhere else when The Captain and Tenille perform.
Harris: You can surf the net and hit them, and then make sure you never run into them in real life.
Barry: I just don’t want to be there when they do Muskrat Love. I guess you guys get a lot of requests for that, huh?
Harris: Yeah, it’s #1 on our countdown every year.
Barry: And Having My Baby. (laughs)
Harris: Oh, God. What else have you found on the net?
Barry: There’s another site that teaches you how to curse in Swedish. It’s a complete course, and what’s wonderful is not so much that the words sound pretty funny — you can click on the words and hear them pronounced — but you can also learn Swedish curses, with the English translations.
Harris: Get outta here.
Barry: This is my favorite Swedish curse…get ready now with the dump button…”Just wait till I get rid of the plaster!!”
Barry: It’s an actual Swedish curse.
Harris: Wow! You really have pissed somebody off when you say that!
Barry: Can you imagine two Swedes ram their Volvos into each other and jump out with those words! Those are fightin’ words over in Sweden.
Harris: That is the sort of stuff that would make Robbie Alomar spit! Oh, man. Do you have your own home page, Dave?
Barry: Actually I do, but I don’t know where it is or what it is. Really, I’m serious. They made one in connection with this book, but I don’t know the address. I have never quite understood what you are supposed to do when you get to a home page. There are billions of them, and I spend a lot of time clicking on them. You guys have a home page…what’s there?
Harris: Archives of our show and transcripts of interviews. This one will probably end up on there.
Barry: So it would really be worth while going there, huh?
Harris: Well, I wouldn’t go that far.
Harris: It’s the sort of thing where if your golf game locks up on you and you need something to do, this would be a good place to go.
Harris: Well, as I said, your book is very funny. It’s always a great pleasure having you on the show, Dave.
Barry: Well thanks for having me, Paul!
Copyright 1996, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Rhyan Jones.