« Previous | Main | Next »

January 13, 2006


Dear Dave,
A few minutes ago, I got an e-mail from my husband, letting me know that he'd paid a few bills, telling me how his day's going, asking how the baby's doing today (I'm 8 1/2 months pregnant with our first child) and so on. You know, the usual mundane husband-and-wife stuff. Then I got to this:
"Also I just entered into a sweepstakes for a compact earthmover. The link is www.popularmechanics.com/earthmover. Pretty neat!"
At first, I figured that had to be a joke, ha ha. He couldn't really want to win a compact earthmover. What would he do with it? We live on flat quarter-acre lot in the suburbs; none of our earth needs to be moved. I was about to reply with some snide wifely comment about how he's sooooo hilarious, but then it hit me: he's totally serious. He DID enter a sweepstakes for a compact earthmover. He would LOVE to have a compact earthmover. Right now, he's sitting at his desk daydreaming about what he'd do with a compact earthmover.
So I figured I'd turn to Dave Barry, in my opinion the world's leading expert on guys, for the answers to a few questions:
1. Why would a normal, tie-wearing, desk-job-having, college-educated guy feel like he needs something like this around the house? He's never even taken his chainsaw out of the box -- what, exactly, does he think he's going to do with this monstrosity?
2. Does he expect me to get excited about this?
3. Will our son (we're having a boy) be like this as well? Should I just shoot myself now?
4. You want one too, don't you, Dave?
I appreciate your help in this matter.
Jill D.

This blog's response: That is a nice machine.

UPDATE: We have received this (see comments) from Jill D's husband:

Hello All,

Okay, okay. I suppose all of you want an explanation as to why I want an earthmover. I have listed my reasons below. But I wanted to add that growing up as a Navy-brat, I had exposure to tanks, planes, ships and other heavy metal hardware.


1) Homeland Security and the War Against Terrorism (Bush uses that reason for everything. Why can't I?)

2) It's FREE!

3) My son can have something cool to bring in to school for "Show and Tell"

4) I need to build a bomb shelter in the backyard.

5) It's been raining here for 26 straight days (WA state), and I need it to gather wood for an ark.

6) My parents sold my Tonka earthmover years ago.

7) Safer than zipping down the highway in a Harley or building a homebuilt plane.

8) Great to have one around the house.

9) It's cool!

This blog is happy to serve as a conduit for communications between Mrs. and Mr. D.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

what, exactly, does he think he's going to do with this monstrosity?

Brag to his friends, of course.

Ya think he'd take an offer on the chainsaw? Just wonderin' is all . . .

Jill: Maybe the tie you got him for Christmas just didn't hit the mark.

*sitting at desk making "brrrrrrrmmmmmmmmm" noises*

I need that thing. I just registered myself and my husband. Seriously, I NEED that earthmover! Then nobody would take my parking space ever again.

Dave ~ you entered it as well didn't you? You had to right? It was your manly duty as a man to enter because you went to check out the monstrosity in question.

If he wins, Jill will do the usual wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth while she worries about the great " what if's"..Then, I predict, she will learn to appreciate this machine, nay, Terra Transporter, for all it's inate AND outward beauty.."Honey, the light over the garage needs replaced.." And here comes the machine.."Honey, will you take the garbage out ?" Machine.."..Leaf pick up: Machine...More seating for the picnic:Machine..Get the mail:Machine..Pick her Mom up from the airport:Machine...Plus,I bet the bucket would hold about five hundred pounds of ice and beer no problem..Or a keg..And your Mother..

Sigh... ask them to take out the garbage, its too complicated. Ask them to dig up the backyard with an earth mover and create an enormous, decorative crater so the dog and assorted children will break their limbs falling in while trying to get to the garden, he's right there.

Fossilized Oosiks can make the earth move in their own fashion can't they? At least for fossilized female walruses I suppose.

1. Because it's there and available (possibly free)

2. Yes

3. Yes and No

4. Of course he does.

I'm curious what the problem is. Are you worried about gas mileage? licensing fees? Parking problems? You are focusing on the negative.

What about the positive? Your family will be distinctive if he wins. And, having an earthmover will probably facilitate many father/son conversations of the typs many sons dream about.

I would also point out that he said COMPACT earthmover. You may be getting hysterical over nothing. It may be a miniature earthmover, like those you see of porsches.

The ladies would feel different about this if the bucket was loaded with women's shoes in their size.

I don't understand the problem. What person would NOT want a compact earthmover ? Is it just me ?

plow snow from the driveway

scoop poop

carry groceries from the curb to the back door

pull stumps

crunch mole hills

lift the car so he can reach under and drain the oil

rent it to the neighbors for all of the above

Youngtom - we'er talkin' your piece of construction equipment often called a Bobcat, after the first ones produced. It's maybe the size of a medium sized car and about twice the height.

*considers entering* C'mon, Mad, it'll be perfect for trips to the cemetary to get parts for your experiments! (oops, did I say that out loud?)

*considers converting to lesbianism*

*wonders if they have any free gift offers for new members*

*hands punky a flannel shirt and do-it-yourself mullet kit*

OK, where's my toaster?

i'm down with down in texas. who wouldn't?!

i constantly pester the guys at work to let me run the bobcat but they won't let me play. thanks for the contest link, i'll just go get my own. so there. nyah.

I hear they are giving away free oosiks to the first 50 members.

I'm *so* joining.

*follows Punky!*

"You want one too, don't you, Dave?" - BWAHAHA!

ooo, it's cute! I'd be the envy of my brothers.

As a child, every boy I knew had a fleet of well-loved TONKA Trucks. The favorite of them all was the mighty earthmover. Why? Because it was the most fun to play with! It did the most useful work, things like scooping up your sister's Barbie oll and dumping the carcass behind the sofa, or making "tread tracks" through mom's freshly planted garden. (Not that *I* ever did such things, however... I've simply heard about them.. Yeah, that's it! People told me these stories, and I just pass them along to you here...)

I admit nothing, except to the fact that all my TONKA trucks are still up on a shelf in the garage, waiting for me to return soon to play with them, 40 years later.

So why wouldn't any red-blooded American male want a toy they can actually drive in? It's like a sure thing, or like having a date with Paris Hilton....
Oh, wait... I'm repeating myself here.

Nevermind, just please let me win this?

I work as an IT consultant to a major oil company but I dream of driving a firetruck,or being a train engineer or ANYTHING mechanical. It is part of the genetic makeup of a male. It has nothing to do with practical sense. Like a women spending 30 minutes to explain why the car needs gas.



gets hit anyway.

That reminds me. I need to enter the HGTV dream home giveaway sweepstakes. And the thing for the $500 Best Buy gift card.

Jill~ He can charge all the other guys he knows an hourly rate to play with his toy, thus making some extra cash for you to decorate baby's room with. :-)

I wonder how many guys did what I did - as soon as I got to the URL for the contest, I instantly entered it before reading further.

As to what you can do with it - what CAN'T you do with it? I want this more than a new pocket PDA/media player with cellular broadband.

I already have a Bobcat (and it is very nice for the extra picnic seating, by the way), and I will still enter.

Nice to see some familiar names here.

The question is not what can you do with a compact earth mover, but what can't you do with a compact earth mover? I'm at a loss to answer that question. I want one! As Tim Taylor would say, "more power!"

And how many of us put that we heard about the giveaway on Dave's blog?

djtonyb~ For your first comment, *snork*

For your second, if you find the toaster, send it my way. I just killed ours trying to heat a pop-tart. (yes, it was a kellogg's iced strawberry pop-tart. no, I'm not talking about Britney.) The thing fell into pieces while it was heating, and I had to unplug the toaster, take out the larger chunks with tongs and shake the smaller pieces out by holding it upside down over the trashcan. I plugged it back in and started over, and then smoke started wafting out of it. Can someone bring me a toaster before my parents get home?

You all realize that the only reason Jill included the link and hoped this letter would be published is to reduce the probability of her husband winning.

Here's hoping it works Jill and that this whole 'Earth Mover' thing becomes someone else's wife's problem.

DITexas is right about the practical sense. In my driveway, right now, is a truck. An enormous 1946 Ford truck belonging to the man of the house. This truck does not run. The only major car repair he has ever performed is writing a check. He would LOVE his own earthmover. So would I, if only to move that truck.

I just entered the contest too. If I win, I will give this to my general contracting neighbor!

Seems to me the Earth is fairly well positioned. Why are we thinking of moving it? Where would we put it? Actually, maybe it's not such a bad idea, provided we moved it and didn't tell Barry Manilow.

I write the songs that make the whole world.....hey, where is everyone?

Maybe I should enter-I just received an e-mail from a very nice man in charge of some British company I've never heard of saying I won a million pounds in a lottery I never entered! And all I need to do is give him my bank account number! So it must be my lucky day, right? Mr Artchik would like an earthmover so he can settle this whose oosik is bigger question once and for all.

Actually, kudos to Jill's hubby. All the excitement of entering a contest for a big-ole hunk of machinery and he still remembered that she was with child! Lets give him some credit-maybe he's thinking of the Bobcat as a really macho type of baby stroller. He'd be the envy of all the other dads!

Yeah, I'd love to have a personal earthmover. I might even take medications that say "Don't use heavy equipment after use" just because I finally have the opportunity.

So many reasons ...
It's Free.
It's a chance to win something that the average man could never actually justify buying.
It's free.
I don't already have one.
The other guys in the neighborhood will envy the fact that the wife didn't squash the idea (free or not).
I could use it to bury the 400 pairs of black pumps (that are still waiting for the right dress to go with them) taking up space in my closet, because she ran out of space in hers.
It's free.
The kids will LOVE it!!!
Did I mention the price is right?

OK all you guys who entered, just forget your fantasies and get back to work. That sucker's MINE! I am owned by "several" cats and have converted the garage to a big litter box, so I *NEED* this piece of equipment to save my back from the HOURS of daily shoveling I now have to endure. To help me fund the truckload deliveries of litter however, I will make the earthmover (littermover?) available for the rest of you to play with on an hourly rental basis. $20 an hour or $10 if you scoop my cat crap with it, a free hour if you take a cat.

Okay, I want one.

And, I have two chainsaws, and they get heavy use (who knew toenails grew so fast?).

Also, I'd like to make a half-hearted pitch for Unpopular Mechanics. We're honest.

Has anyone noticed that "Jill D" writes suspiciously like a certain "Dave B"?

Coincidence? I think not. We're on to you, Dave.

Hey, I want it, too! And last time I checked, I'm not a guy. An RC-30 would just rock my world. I grew up on a farm driving tractors, splitting wood, etc.
This would look great in my garage, and intimidate all the local Stepford wives. I'm the only divorcee in my neighborhood, and all the guys wonder how I get along without a manly man to take out the trash, mow the lawn, lie on the couch, stink up the bathroom, hog the remote....

I hope everyone entered "Dave Barry's Blog" in the section "where did you hear about us"...

Consider yourself lucky, it's free and he's probably not going to win. My boyfriend and I have a three car garage which one side of it is filled with things that he's bought over the years and never uses.


As you hail from the "burbs", I am surprised that you have missed yet another fine use for this manly piece of equipment. Surely you must have encountered a pesky neighbor, that allows their pet to indiscriminately use YOUR LAWN to do his or her business?

I have a neighbor with an incontinent Chihuahua, that can drop a turd the size of a small Buick! There is nothing more frustrating than to be walking behind your lawn mower, only to strike a petrified gift left by someone else's pet. Last summer, I broke three blades that way!

You also have to look at the health hazards these carelessly left specimens present. What if your loving husband was to trip over one of said specimens, and break a leg? Think of the financial hardship! (not to mention his inability to handle those 3:00 a.m. feedings, should this occur.)

There are even respiratory hazards. Anyone who has hit a petrified stool sample with a lawnmower, knows that a horrendous cloud of noxious and blinding "poo-particles" will IMMEDIATELY follow, taking the operator by surprise. Said cloud often renders the operator of the mower TOTALLY BLIND, until the "smoke" clears, limiting his or her ability to see the path before them. Is this what YOU want for your husband? I thought not.

Should he win the contest, he will be able to avert such crises, prior to ever starting the mower! With one or two passes through the yard, he will be able to safely mow, knowing that his workspace is "fossilized-poo" free. For the gardening safety of your loved ones, I say you should let him keep it.

Bob The Builder, YES YOU CAN!

I entered, too.

Earth mover?

That's why there's the Arch in St. Louis; it's the handle for when God wants to relocate the earth. Like move it out near Uranus in the event a vampire becomes Governor in Minnesota.

This sucks! You need to have a US address to enter. Canadian men love big toys too. I need a backup too as my tractor is currently down for repairs and I'm getting tired of carrying those 500 pound round hay bales by hand. The track drive on this earthmover (we call these things bobcats or skidsteers here) wouldn't even tear up the ground.

Punky,Annie, Eleanor, S'girl, S'belle - would you consider letting me live in your garage temporarily so that I can have a US address and enter?

Bumble - my daughter came over yesterday and had me enter the HGTV DreamHouse thingy, and bookmark it and promise to do it every day!
Thanks for the reminder! :)

El~ Yeah. My sister and I both enter every day; if one of us wins, we'll sell it and split the money. When that day comes, bloggit party at my house!

Sorry I forgot to ask Tamara and Bumble if I can move in with you too. No offence intended.

Too many women, too little time.

Y-chromosome dominant trait= enter sweepstakes for cool machinery. This doesn't have anything to do with your chosen avocation--it goes much deeper. This is a matter of the very heart of the human male.

Besides, it'll look really cool in front of my dental office!

ArcticAl~ By all means. But I should warn you, my garage is a little chilly. Not that that would bother you, but wouldn't it be simpler to just stay in the arctic and use one of our addresses? :-)

and you could use it to haul away the body of a 6" spider after you burn it up with a gasoline-loaded SuperSoaker.

Aw...ArcticAl forgot about me...shuffles off to sob in the corner.

I'm in.

ArcticAl - sure you can borrow my garage. But you'll have to move out before they deliver my new bobcat! (yes, that's what we call them, too.) It's gonna look pretty nifty sitting outside my HGTV dream house.

I'm sorry Artchick. Can I move in with you too?

*blows Artchick a kiss to makeup*

umm ... I don't have a garage ... how's about my attic? Or pantry? Ha! I don't have a pantry ... I don't even own dishes. Ask tamara.

I have a coat closet.

Wouldnt mind being Punky's Bunky - can I occupy the coat closet, Punky? Dont have any contest legalities to qualify for, I just want a bigger place.

Al, I'm afraid I have the same problem as punky - no garage - but if I had one, you would be welcome to it. (Since the only male influence in my life is 8 years old, and his toys don't take up QUITE that much room yet!)

now BM, men have dreamed of moving the earth (no, I don't mean like that) since ancient times - Archimedes said, "give me a place to stand and I will move the earth."

But he probably said it in Greek.

And I understand teht he was talking about using a lever - but what was he going to use as a fulcrum?

punky, every time i see you write, i think of this other punky.

i'm hoping the reason artical doesn't want my garage is because he's seen it and realizes it would be a bad, bad idea.

elfbrains - a frozen, one-eyed cat.

Of course you can, Al, and it's nice and warm, too. You may have to cook from time to time, though, and there's that whole "I only have one shower" thing, so we'd have to share.

*snork* @ Annie!

s'girl - he's Canadian. I don't think the shower will be an issue.

C'bol - only 2 chainsaws? I can barely get by with three and I'm thinking maybe a nice Stihl 22-inch would complet the set. (no 22-inch jokes please)

I have a friend who convinced his wife they needed their own backhoe with loader bucket. Now there is a master of persuasion.

In answer to Jill D.'s question: Why would a normal, tie-wearing, desk-job-having, college-educated guy feel like he needs something like this around the house? He's never even taken his chainsaw out of the box -- what, exactly, does he think he's going to do with this monstrosity?

Answer: Well DUUHHHHH!!!!

Thank you.

Pssst! Party at Punky's if you're privvy to the place!

PS I entered the contest, too. MWAHAHAHA!

pogo- too funny. I had a "Team Stihl" hat on when a guy saw it and said, "Hey, I've got one of those chainsaws." "Just one?" I replied. We also had a backhoe/loader AND a small bulldozer. They came in handy when it snowed a lot.

Shoot, I live in an apartment & I want one. I don't know why, I just do, OK? :)

I am a city-dwelling high-rise-condo-dwelling grandmother; and I not only would love to HAVE a BobCat; I once told a psychologist friend that (and I swear IANMTU) "If I had to be a piece of heavy machinery, I'd be a BobCat."
...and no, nobody had posed the question -- I had just admired one as I was driving down the street: it was so strong, so nimble, so compact, so maneuverable, so CAPABLE, and (sorry, guys) so damned CUTE!!!
OK. No more intimate revelations today. I've already gone too far.

I entered too. I don't like my next door neighbors. One one side of me.

ArcticAl - a while back I found a possum in my garage and I didn't go out for 3 days, so if you promise to keep the garage critter-free, I'll consider it! :)

Bumble, that's what my daughter and I are going to do WHEN we win the Dream House. So whichever one of us wins, there WILL be a party! :)

Annie and S'girl - Of course sharing a shower wouldn't be a problem. Canadians are very ecologically aware and we would not want to waste any of nature's gift of water. Maybe we could all share together to really conserve water and generate our own heat to keep it hot.

Eleanor - I guess possums are sort of like raccons and squirrels, so I'll bring my shot gun with me to keep the pests under control. It might work on the neighbours you don't like too.

Punky-party-Punky-party-Punky-party, you packs of poultry!

Hello All,

Okay, okay. I suppose all of you want an explanation as to why I want an earthmover. I have listed my reasons below. But I wanted to add that growing up as a Navy-brat, I had exposure to tanks, planes, ships and other heavy metal hardware.


1) Homeland Security and the War Against Terrorism (Bush uses that reason for everything. Why can't I?)

2) It's FREE!

3) My son can have something cool to bring in to school for "Show and Tell"

4) I need to build a bomb shelter in the backyard.

5) It's been raining here for 26 straight days (WA state), and I need it to gather wood for an ark.

6) My parents sold my Tonka earthmover years ago.

7) Safer than zipping down the highway in a Harley or building a homebuilt plane.

8) Great to have one around the house.

9) It's cool!

I just told my brother about this. He lives in a 1 bedroom apartment in Brooklyn and he said I am entering the contest now. Needless to say I have already entered it myself.

I want one. I want one. I have no where to put it and no use for it, but I want one.

I'm a girl and for years on my birthday I would buy myself a power tool. Last year I broke with tradition and bought a book.

C-bol: You just reminded me which relative has my chainsaw?

Rats, I can't play at punky's. Stoopid net filters.

djt ~ hidemyass.com
Not tht I've used such a thing or anything like that.

if everyone mentioned that they heard about the contest on this blog, "Popular Mechanics" will probably start advertising here.

Wolfie - nope, and I've tried a couple others. Anonycat.com seems to let me through to some things, but not all. Anything that looks remotely like a blogsp0t is verboten, even with cloaking at full power :(

Dave, could you ask my wife what she's fixing for dinner, please?

Jill D's Husband -- I haven't seen anybody on this blog questioning why you want it. Just many, many folks who will fight you for it.

/me hugs lab

Did anyone check out the lawnmower attachment? This would DEFINITELY be the coolest lawnmower in the subdivision!

LabSpecimen: Burnt offerings again?

Dave: Yep, that's what the Wench said.

Thank you. I'll be here all week.

This is the coolest snow-shoveler I have ever seen! I am absolutely entering.

15 minutes from the one-eyed kitten, in beautiful Bend, Oregon.

OK, I'm gone all morning and I find out that (a) Dave posted my e-mail (squeeee!) and (b) my husband found it and sent in an "explanation." I still don't get it, but I give up. Win the darn thing, honey. Hope you like sleeping in the bomb shelter.

p.s. To whoever said I write like Dave Barry: You have made my YEAR.

I entered using my parents address in Houston.

That's gonna be one hell of a drive, getting it down here to Guatemala.

Hooray for Jill D!
Very cool!

And I promise if I win it I will NOT lend it to your husband. :)

(catches kiss from ArcticAl). I can't offer you a group shower, but at least we're not having burnt offerings for dinner (Mr Artchick is cooking tonight).

Note to Jill's hubby: Okay, sounds like she's accepting it, but remember: pictures of the Bobcat do *not* belong in the baby album. (They belong in a frame on the mantelpiece.)

Note #2 to Jill's hubby - don't try taking the baby's picture ON the bobcat just to get a picture of it....we know what you're up to!

May I also comment that calling a bobcat an 'earthmover' is typical male er, 'enhancement.' A real earthmover is the massive monstrosity -
make the earth move baby

I might have multiple scents of Bath and Body Works lotion in my house, but I just entered the contest, too. I'll worry about the "delivery and registration are the sole responsibility of the winner" part AFTER I win, visit my new earthmover and send a photo to Dave.

I rented one of those once (with wheels instead of tracks, though) to spread some dirt in my yard, and before we returned it my wife insisted on trying it out. She loved it! Maybe I should try to win it for her...

1 2 »

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About The Miami Herald | Advertise