Friday, March 04, 2011

On seeing Derek Jeter at Starbucks, and thinking of Michael

Cross-posted at The Daily Dave

Derek Jeter hangs out at my Starbucks.

It's not my Starbucks, of course. I don't own it. Derek Jeter probably thinks of it as his Starbucks too. But, just like me, he lives nearby and comes here from time to time. As he's the shortstop for the New York Yankees, and I am not, it is safe to assume that he lives in a bigger house in a better neighborhood than I do. But Starbucks is the great social equalizer of our time. Rich and poor, professional athlete and couch potato, Mac users and PC users — we all congregate at Starbucks.

This isn't a blog post about Starbucks, though. It's a blog post about Jeter and my brother, Michael, who died in 2006.

Michael liked many things. High on the list were the New York Yankees and fantasy baseball. He was known for his prowess with baseball statistics, and even maintained his own website discussing the finer points of analytics. What some people did with fastballs, Michael could do with Excel sheets.

Time has a way of stealing your memories. This doesn't happen violently: time is not a mugger, and you can't fight back against it. One day, something happens and you are shocked to realize that you've forgotten about some of the things — characteristics, events, times — pertaining to the people you love.

Seeing Jeter made me think about how much Michael loved baseball. It reminded me that Michael loved the numbers behind baseball, and that he would build new teams and play entire seasons using nothing but existing information.

Before I knew it, I was standing in front of Jeter. Here's what I think I said:

"I hate to bother you, as I know people must come up to you all the time and pester you. I just wanted to tell you my brother was a huge Yankees fan, and if he were here right now, he'd be staring at you but too shy to say hello. My brother was also a huge fantasy baseball fan. What you did made him very happy. When I saw you, it made me think about him when he was happy. So, thank you."

This probably came out as:

"Awww, gee, mister baseball guy. Hi. Ramble, ramble, ramble. Bye now."

Jeter was very gracious, and said thanks. And since this encounter, he hasn't filed any kind of legal document requiring me to stay a prescribed distance away from him, so I probably didn't say anything too awkward or stupid.

I'm grateful for the experience — not because I said hi to Jeter, but because it brought back memories of Michael.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Crocheted White Album vinyl: the perfect addition to a Beatlemaniac’s couch

Crocheted White Album vinyl: the perfect addition to a Beatlemaniac’s couch - I'll always associate Mike with The Beatles.. of everyone I know, he was the biggest Beatles fan, and yea, even bigger than me.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Found this old pic

Someone in the office had this hanging on their wall and gave it to me this AM.. figured I'd post it.  The woman is Kristen, she still works at Google and, at the time, was the other "TAM" in the CHI office.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Not so camera shy..

Mike was camera shy, but over the years, a few fun ones made it out.. Thanks to Craig for scanning these, a few from the Mike vault surfaced and belong here..

These are all from the Phase2Media xmas party, circa 2000 I believe.

Ahh yes, the benefits of an open bar.

Clowning it up Mike

This is Mike being quite the silly..

Mike listening to the CEO wondering how many options he has..

Friday, August 15, 2008


Today is the second anniversary of Michael's death.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Birthday Reminder I Didn't Need

(Cross-posted at The Daily Dave 2.0)

Frankly, I didn't need to e-mail me on Friday to remind me that my brother's birthday was on Saturday:

Birthday Reminder

It's been over a year since Michael died, and I keep discovering and rediscovering places on the Internet that still think he's alive.

It's jarring and disconcerting. Maybe in a few years, I'll think it's comforting. This year, I didn't.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Takes me back...

When I first met Mike, he came to work at Phase2Media from i33 .. to my surprise, they are still in the news and around!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

One Year Ago

This is cross-posted at The Daily Dave:

One year ago today we learned that Michael had died.

My parents had a hunch something was wrong. I was the one that got the confirmation. I had to call my mom and dad with the news. It was heartbreaking.

I hated Michael so much for making my mother cry.

I didn't start crying until after I had called my parents. I called Britt, who was in Boston that night, and started bawling before he even answered the phone. He couldn't understand me, but knew exactly what had happened.

While I was speaking to Britt, my father was calling Lee and Michon.

All of the calls after that were about logistics. Britt handled the flights and hotel rooms. I don't remember sleeping that night. I do remember the flight to Chicago the next morning. I wanted to punch everybody who said have a nice day.

I knew I would not be having a nice day.

While today has not been a particularly nice day, it hasn't been that difficult for me, either. I can't explain why. Perhaps the date on the calendar isn't a tangible reminder of losing my brother. Maybe I'll feel differently when Britt and I are in synagogue Friday night, and I hear the rabbi read Michael's name on the Yahrzeit list.

Perhaps one year is just too soon to understand a loss so big.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thoughts On Being LinkedIn With My Brother

The following is cross-posted at my personal blog, The Daily Dave:

I recently have discovered, the social networking Web site that's designed to be the MySpace for professionals.

Yesterday, I came across my brother Michael's profile on LinkedIn. He is a second-degree contact from me, according to the Web site. He died last year.

It's hard to describe the emotions that run through your brain when you stumble across something like this. My first impulse was to click to invite Michael to join my LinkedIn network, making him a first-degree contact. Then, with a jolt of sadness, I realized that he wasn't around to respond to the request.

When you lose someone, the loss seems so abstract. I'm finding that over time, the reminders become tinier and more tangible. In this case, Michael's death means that he will always remain a second-degree contact on LinkedIn.

It's such an insignificant thing, really.

On LinkedIn, there's a place where people can write recommendations for business partners, suppliers, coworkers and so forth. On Michael's profile page, there's a recommendation from Ben Saitz:

"Mike gets media and online advertising better than almost anyone I've worked with. He's technical, highly engaged, and extremely customer focused. I've been lucky enough to work with him at 2 different companies -- he's a great guy to have on the team!" -- July 13, 2006

-- Ben Saitz, Vice President, Client Services, DoubleClick
managed Michael indirectly at DoubleClick

Michael segregated his friends and his family. He separated his work friends from his school friends. He did this, I suppose, to maintain a sense of balance in a world in which he felt he had perilously little control. I don't know the reason, so perhaps I shouldn't speculate at all.

After Michael died, the people that he had kept apart for so many years all came together to mourn him. Seeing Mike's friends -- some, for the first time in years, and others, for the first time ever -- I'm reminded of how special, talented, smart and caring he was. Reading Ben's recommendation on LinkedIn, I'm reminded of those things all over again.

So, no, I don't get to have a first-degree contact with Michael on some Web site. That's impossible. That doesn't happen now. But maybe I get to build relationships with some of Michael's friends, who are amazing -- people like Ryan Dawson, Ben Saitz and Nicole Pruess. And maybe I get to be fortunate enough to call these people my friends too, and get to understand my brother a little better as well.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ryland James Simanoff

What follows is some very happy news. It's also depressing news, because it's a reminder of all the milestones Mike is no longer around to share with us.

Ryland James Simanoff was born Monday at 6:25 p.m. He weighed 4 pounds, 7 ounces, and was 17 3/4 inches long. Ryland's parents, Michon and Lee, are ecstatic. So are both sets of grandparents. Britt and I will visit our new nephew this weekend.

If Michael were still alive, he would be Ryland's uncle. He would have been a great uncle. He would even have voluntarily boarded an airplane to visit this little guy. Maybe.

I have mixed thoughts about posting this message to the memorial blog. It feels awkward, as if we're talking behind Michael's back, or changing the subject without telling him. Still, I think I'm doing the right thing. Put another way: If we do offend, it is with our good will.

Welcome to the world, Ryland. When you're ready to learn about Michael, there's an entire community of people ready to tell you what a wonderful person he was.

Love & The Beatles


Larry King, who Mike may or not have liked (he is annoying!), had Paul, Ringo, and the widows Harrison/Lennon and the creator of the Love show on his show - interesting to watch

Saturday, June 02, 2007

beatles milestone

40 years since sgt. pepper was released - mike would have liked all the fanfare.  and i agree with this guy, rubber soul will always be my favorite.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


News about the upcoming DoubleClick-Google deal has got me reminiscing about Michael. I have no doubt that Michael would have loved working for Google.

I keep thinking about what it be like to have seen Michael's name on a Google business card. I'd be so proud of him. And so jealous, too.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

They really were fab..

As I drove to work this AM, Howard Stern had the "Fab Faux" band on his show. Not only was the band outstanding and a great re-appreciation for me, of the Beatles.. it just reminded me of Mike. I used to love to just IM a few words from a Beatles song and see if he knew which song it was.. sort of "name that tune" to AIM.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The biggest Lucky Charm Marshmallow - ever!

i dont know why, but i just know mike would find this funny..

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A new toy I would have shared with Mike..

One thing I'll probably never shake is that whenever I ran into a cool new site with lots of bells and whistles, and often little value ;-)  I'd share with Mike.  Todays was an automatic one.. a new "ajax web 2.0" home page -  Such a great name and the site looks and works in a pretty and slick way.  I'd love to IM it to Mike, and he'd probably say "wow, that's cool" and then "what about the 14 other customizable home pages I already have, I wish they'd make a way to port my customizations from netvibes or google home page or pageflakes to this new one, so i didnt to spend all the time redoing it."  And he'd be right.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mike, I'm still waiting

I got a sudden and slightly sad reminder today.. My invitiation to Mike on Friendster is yet to be answered...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007

Michael Simanoff's Library

This is cross-posted from The Daily Dave:

I have started to catalog my brother's book collection. In addition to compiling a large database on my Mac with Delicious Library, I am also toying around with a new Web site called

I have just uploaded about 100 book titles to Shelfari. You can browse the library right here:

Obviously, what you're seeing here is just a sliver of Michael's collection of books, CDs and movies -- it's small taste, to be sure, but enough to give you a good feel for Michael's interest: graphic novels, Judaism, technology, Russian literature and, of course, baseball.

Few of these books have much individual meaning for me. Together, though, they're more than a shrine to my brother -- they are reminders of the things he loved: the passions that fueled him, the stories that engaged him, the ideas that excited him. It's impossible to explore Michael's library without exploring Michael's life.

What do you all think?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Of Michael And Music

This message is cross-posted at The Daily Dave:

Whenever I pick up a new book, or listen to a new album, I always wonder if Michael would approve.

Music was one thing Michael and I had in common, even though our tastes differed. When I was in college, I introduced Michael to the Indigo Girls with a mix tape of live and rare songs. Since then, Michael always returned the favor, exposing me to songs, singers and bands I may never have discovered on my own: XTC, Sufjan Stevens, the Decemberists, Beulah, Wilco, and so on.

The last e-mail message I ever received from Michael was about music.

A few days ago, Ben Saitz were chatting on e-mail and trying to figure out what Michael would have thought of the Beatles' new "Love" CD. Would he see it as a respectful tribute that finds new meanings and connections in the Beatles' classics, or a greed-inspired mash-up of songs that robs the material of its original grace and poetry?

We'll never know. But I'm pretty sure Michael would have sided with the Beatles purists, mainly because (a) that's the stance he typically would have taken and (b) I kind of liked "Love," and Michael and I generally had opposing viewpoints about these kinds of albums.

Let's open this up to discussion. What music have you heard since Michael died that you wish you could have shared with him? Movies, books, TV shows too -- what do you miss discussing with Michael?

News from NARSAD

NARSAD is the organization we asked people to support after Michael died. I got the following update from them earlier today. It looks like all of our donations are being used well.

The Latest News from NARSAD

(Great Neck, N.Y., Dec. 12, 2006) - The holidays are upon us and NARSAD: The Mental Health Research Association has some end-of-the-year tidings to share with its supporters:
  • The organization has given a record number of grants this year to scientists throughout the world to improve our understanding of psychiatric illnesses and to develop new treatments for these conditions.
  • Some of the world's most innovative investigators in psychiatry were awarded NARSAD's prestigious prizes for career achievement in brain and behavioral research at our recent New York City gala.
  • Medscape, a leading medical news website, recently profiled three NARSAD Scientific Council members, Drs. Carpenter, Coyle, and Seeman, for their insights about schizophrenia.
  • Summaries of several of NARSAD's scientific symposia, held throughout the count, are now available to the public on our website.
  • The Schizophrenia Research Forum, an online forum for research about schizophrenia partially supported by NARSAD, has celebrated its first birthday!
And in other news...NARSAD-supported researchers have continued to advance the frontiers of research into memory, neurological degenerative diseases, depression, and autism, all with the goal of improving the lives of people living with mental illness.

As you consider your charitable giving this time of year, remember that all these research activities by NARSAD would not be possible without donor support. Acting now will have an even greater impact thanks to a challenge grant from the Essel Foundation, which has pledged to match every contribution to NARSAD dollar for dollar. But to make the match, donations must be received by December 31st.

Click here to make a secure online donation and join us in our fight against severe mental illnesses.

Cross-posted at The Daily Dave.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Beatles on iTunes

Mike loved the Beatles, and they'll finally be on iTunes. He owned all their stuff, so wouldn't buy anything, but he'd probably be happy :-)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The slide show

I, sadly, couldn't make the memorial gathering in FLA this past weekend, but I do have a copy of the wonderful slideshow presented there.. I posted it on a web site for download.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

On Mike Simanoff (from Mike's friend Gabriel M)

Like most friendships that begin over the Internet, my
first meeting with Mike had to happen twice, once online and once in person. The online acquaintance must have occurred gradually during 2002, when Mike and I were both members of various literary forums on the Internet. Mike was a humorous and intelligent contributor and his tastes proved remarkably similar to mine. We both enjoyed the short stories of the neglected American writer fantasy Avram Davidson, the psychic detective novels of Jack Mann, the graphic novels of Alan Moore and the music of Wilco, among other things.

At some point Mike and I realized that the other also lived in New York and we arranged to get together. We agreed to meet at the monthly reading of fantastic fiction that editors Ellen Datlow and Gavin Grant hosted the third Wednesday of each month at the KGB Bar in New York’s East Village. I admit I was a little concerned about meeting Mike, simply because individuals in the flesh don’t always turn out to be quite like their online personas. To my relief, Mike turned out to be as charming, funny and sharp in person as he was online and we quickly became good friends. We attended the monthly KGB readings with some regularity and would meet for dinner from time to time.

Mike and I were at different points in our lives when we first met. I was married, relatively established careerwise, and my wife and I were expecting our first child. Mike was single and at the time just finishing up his master’s degree in library science at NYU. In some sense I felt toward him as an older to a younger brother. As well-read as Mike was, I was still able to point him down some interesting new literary byways, and he returned the favor by re-educating me in the indie popular music scene I had been abandoning for jazz and classical music. His honest enthusiasm for whatever he was enjoying reading or listening to was infectious, and his fundamental gentleness, particularly in a city as consumed with aggressiveness as New York, endearing and refreshing

On one occasion Mike paid a visit to my home. He had been interested in seeing my library, which had acquired somewhat oversized stature in his mind -- and even brought a camera to take pictures of the bookshelves!
After looking over some volumes and meeting my family, we went to a Mexican
restaurant nearby where we drank a pitcher of sangria and Mike let me know that he would soon be moving to Atlanta. I was obviously disappointed that he’d be
leaving the city, but at the same time excited for what seemed like a new
career opportunity for him. I also knew that we would endeavor to keep in touch.

I did not see Mike in person for some time after that, but we continued to correspond and to meet online. At one point, after some of the Internet forums where I had been posting ceased to interest me, I asked Mike’s opinion about setting up a new forum, mostly as a way of keeping in touch with him and various other serious readers I’d grown to appreciate over the years.
Mike was enthusiastic about the idea and promised to participate. The forum began in December of 2004, and although it has always been quite small by Internet standards, Mike checked it at least daily and contributed almost as often, posting over 500 messages under the name “Angry Thoat”, a reference to an Avram Davidson story. He informed us he would be moving to Chicago, told us
once he was settled in (“I have settled into an apartment in the West Loop (good enough!). I'm on the 48th floor of a high rise! Incredible view”), and,
true to form, promptly compiled a Chicago bookstore map. He made fun of my
interest in the soccer World Cup (“Like most Americans (the ones who aren't
apathetic), at this point I have randomly selected another country to follow.
Go Portugal! Wait, is Portugal still in this thing?”
). For a thread on
quotes from what we were all reading he jokingly posted an excerpt from the
Oracle Database Client Installation Guide (“Sorry, it’s been one of those
”, he mock apologized). He appreciated the recent novels of Naomi
Novik, heaped (with me) aspersions on the new edition of the Annotated Sherlock
Holmes, rhapsodized over Jan Morris’s HAV (“perhaps one of my top three
favorite books
”) and the stories of Gerald Kersh (“tied with Avram
Davidson for my absolute favorite short story writer of all time
recommended recent albums from Centromatic, The Flaming Lips and The National,
and changed his mind (for the better) about the music of Surfjan Stevens.

Mike’s last post was on the night of Saturday, August 12, the weekend he died. He recommended a recent book by the author Louis Bayard and provided a short review:

I am halfway through THE PALE BLUE EYE and finding it as good as MR TIMOTHY. This is a first-rate historical murder mystery narrated by a retired New York City detective, who has retreated upstate to a quiet house on the Hudson, in 1830. There has been a disturbance at the nearby Military Academy at West Point, and, well--when is a good detective ever allowed to retire? He quickly meets a queer first-year student named Edgar Allan Poe, who is so unintentionally hilarious and consistently drawn that the reader has no problem accepting him, as the narrator does, as an assistant to the detective for this case. The book sparkles with wit and humor as it does with action and mystery.
It has been rare to find a writer who can tackle a historical thriller with an
ear for the prose and the dialog of the time but the narrative sensbilities of
a contemporary potboiler. I don't know how anyone can be disappointed in books
like these. I hope there are many more to come.

I last saw Mike late last year when he visited from Chicago on business. We went to a restaurant in Tribeca and then to a bar for drinks. We talked about our lives and his new job in Chicago, but as always with our conversations we ended up circling back to the things that had brought us together, the books and music that we loved. The time passed effortlessly.

Mike’s literary interests were not strictly confined to being a member of online communities. He volunteered time to Jeff Vandermeer’s small press Ministry of Whimsy, in particular editing the book A NEW UNIVERSAL HISTORY OF INFAMY by the Welsh writer Rhys Hughes. He also contributed interviews with writers to the website Fantastic Metropolis which was run by his good friend Luis Rodrigues, formal book reviews to other sites and occasionally even wrote fiction.

Mike could be very funny. At one point Fantastic Metropolis ran a feature asking various writers and editors questions about the physicality of books. Mike was one of the subjects. In response to the question “Do you have any memory connected to books that you would like to share?” Mike answered: “When I was a kid, my dog Chelsea used to chew on the corners of my books (humans in my family do not generally bite books). She would do this for hours, until she was caught and shooed—and immediately forgiven. You had to see her eyes. I believe she enjoyed them tremendously.”

A few days ago I was browsing in a bookstore and chanced upon a somewhat rare edition of Edward Hoch’s stories featuring psychic detective Simon Ark. My immediate first reaction was to think “Mike will love to hear about this”, followed a second later by a pang of grief. I will miss him very much.

Gabriel M

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mike would have liked this..

Yahoo: Free Coffee For Default Homepages - Mike loved Dunkin Donuts coffee and this is a fun & silly web promo he would have liked.. and used and ran across the street with coupon in hand!

Monday, September 11, 2006


I can't help but think of Mike on this day because I was with him on September 11th. We walked from Midtown to Brooklyn, via the Queensboro Bridge. It was a pretty horrendous day, but it was nice to be with Mike. Hot, exhausted, stressed, and freaked out, we stopped at the Subway Inn for a quick break during the long trek. It was here that we learned,from watching the news on the tv in the bar, the details of what had actually happened.

Another Adventure

I've spent the last several weeks going through my thousands of digital photos. I found these this weekend. I had been nagging Mike for years to visit me at the Jersey Shore. I had been renting a house at the beach for the last several summers. He finally agreed to come October. I think these photos were taken in 2002 (based on my really bad facial hair). We drove by a beer distillery...we put the car in reverse and took these photos.

(Mike jumps for joy)

(Budweiser's really cool mailbox)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


After a "meeting of the minds," the dates for Mike's memorial service have officially been set in stone for the weekend of October 13th (Mike's birthday weekend). We are in the planning stages at this point, but Nicole and I, with help from Mike's brother Dave, will have the agenda together soon.

At this point we've determined that the memorial will be on Saturday, October 14th in Tampa (place to be determined). Dave confirmed his parents will be attending, so for those of us that weren't able at attend Mike's service, this would be a great opportunity to pay our respects. For those who will be flying in Friday, October 13th, we would like to meet at a local pub in honor of Mike's birthday.

Planning this service still seems strange, since it still doesn't seem real that Mike is gone. Bare with us, and please feel free to share any thoughts or ideas you may have. Mike had a lot of friends, and we want to make sure everyone has a part.

To contact me, please email me at: or on my cell @ 973-768-7468



Thursday, August 31, 2006

DoubleClick's Generous Donation

This is cross-posted at my personal blog, The Daily Dave:

As Ben has already pointed out, DoubleClick has donated $2,500 in Michael's memory to National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, or NARSAD for short.

Thank you, DoubleClick. I can't begin to express how much the gesture means to me and my family.

It was almost exactly one year ago that Michael moved to Chicago to take his job with DoubleClick. I was in Chicago at the same time for that year's NLGJA conference. The first night I was in town, I blew off the NLGJA evening meet-and-greets and Michael and I ate dinner at the original Pizzeria Uno at Ohio Street and Wabash Avenue, just a few steps away from the Magnificent Mile. The next day, Britt came to Chicago and Michael signed a lease on his new apartment. That night, we celebrated Michael's new job and home with a big steak dinner at Lawry's The Prime Rib on Ontario Street.

Here's a picture of our waitress making a big production out of the salad. This is what they do at Lawry's -- the spin the salad bowl so the dressing is distributed evenly. It looks kind of cool, actually:

At Lawry's The Prime Rib in Chicago, 10/2005

That Sunday, before Britt and I flew home, we went to Michael's apartment to check out the incredible view. The south side of Chicago, including US Cellular Field, spread out beneath us. To the left stood Sears Tower.

Here's a picture of Britt and Michael pointing out landmarks. Michael, who despised being in photos, agreed to let me take this picture because his back was to the camera.

Britt and Michael, 10/2005

Here's the view of Sears Tower:

Sears Tower, seen from Michael's apartment, 10/2005.JPG

A memorial donation made

I'm very proud that DoubleClick, Mike's employer, has sent Mike's parents a $2,500 donation in Mike's name for NARSAD. Don, Mike's dad, just called me and they greatly appreciated it..

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mike and Celine Dion

I was on vacation this week, and just returned yesterday. On the car ride home I was thinking about all the adventures Mike and I had together. One in particular always made me chuckle.

Several years back I drove into the city and picked Mike up from work in my Jeep Wrangler. The weather was beautiful, so of course the top was down. Two single guys in a Jeep Wrangler in New York City...what was needed next was a rock'en song on the radio to impress the ladies. After scanning the radio for the perfect song, Mike finally found one. We turned Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" so loud that my speakers were literally rattling. It was one of the funniest moments in my life...sitting at an intersection in the middle of Manhattan singing at the top of our lungs. Mike sang the verse "Near, far, wherever you are I believe that the heart does go on" with such passion...I was laughing so hard I nearly hit several taxi cabs.

Since that day Mike and I would sing that song on each others voicemail. I wish I had saved them...they always put a smile on my face.

Sunday's NYC Memorial: How Was It?

I hope the memorial for Michael at Spuyten Duyvil is still going strong. I wish I could be there too, sharing stories about my brother and toasting his memory.

When the event winds down, I'd be grateful if the folks who attended could write a few words about the memorial and share them on the blog.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Michael On Detroit (UPDATED)

This is cross-posted at my personal blog, The Daily Dave.

One of Ben's earlier posts reminds me of a text message I once got from Michael.

When Michael was planning his first trip to Detroit for work, Britt and I had a handful of upgrade coupons on United Airlines that were about to expire. As Michael hated the thought of stepping anywhere near an airplane -- let along onto one -- we thought it would be a nice touch to upgrade Michael to first class.

A few hours after Michael arrived in Detroit, I got a text message on my cell phone from him. I expected it to say something along the lines of "thanks for upgrade," or "first class was nice," or even, "got to detroit -- no problems." Instead, I flipped open the phone and saw three words: "detroit ass city."

I laughed so hard I nearly cried. Since then, I've never been able to think about Detroit without a chuckle. (Just think how funny it is for me whenever I see Jeffrey, that schmuck on "Project Runway," with the word "Detroit" tattooed around his neck.)

When I saw Ben's IM from Michael about Detroit, I yanked open my phone to see if I still had my "detroit ass city" message. It wasn't there. I wish I had saved it.

UPDATED: It turns out I did save the text message! It was just stashed away somewhere else on my cell phone.

Detroit ass city

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I knew I had a picture somewhere of the socks...these were his taxi ones.

Mini-memorial in NYC this Sunday, August 27

Although a bigger, more organized, memorial is in the works for the fall, some of Mike's friends will be gathering at Spuyten Duyvil, a bar in Brooklyn, this Sunday at 5:00 to remember Mike.

A wonderful gallery of pictures

Thanks to Dave Simanoff, Mike's brother, we have a wonderful group of pictures on Flickr of Mike, and his friends are already contributing.. This is the link, but email me (ben, hit shift F2, saitz dot com) and I can send you an invite.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dodging the camera

Here's an admittedly very poor picture I took of Mike with my cell phone on July 29, 2005, when he was living in Atlanta. Typical of Mike, he's trying to dodge the camera. This picture was taken at Enda's house (Enda and Kyle are in the background - they became friends with Mike when he moved to Atlanta and we all hung out together most Friday and Saturday nights). We were playing board games, as we did much of the time. Mike's favorite game was Too Many Cooks, and he introduced us to Apples to Apples.


I met Mike in either Home Ec or Health class in 7th grade at Forest Glen Middle School. Although we didn't attend 10-12th grades of high school together (Mike went to Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School), we hung out a lot...enough that I refer to Mike as my friend from high school and kept forgetting at our 10th year high school reunion why he wasn't there. It's sad that I'll be thinking about why he's not there from now on...

Anyway, in high school and beyond, we maintained a "quote book" with memorable, and sometimes not-so-memorable, quotes from the group we hung out with (including Ryan Dawson, aka the glue that held us together). Although not all of these quotes are that great, and some are inside jokes (some of which I can't remember anymore), and some might be quotes Mike borrowed from elsewhere, here are all the quotes I could find that were attributed to Mike in our quote book:
  • I'm the designated drinker
  • Peace, love, and porking
  • It pops up at the strangest times
  • I like my coffee like my men - with cream and sugar
  • Schlong
  • Near...far...whereEVER you are
  • Some of us have to work
  • Bah!
  • Who the hell is Jeff?
  • I don't smoke (attributed to Rabbi Simanoff)
  • Mike's beard is getting thicker...and Jeffrey's getting LARGER!
  • I'm funny
  • It's not that hard to draw me - it's a lot of hair
  • Bob Denver - from Gilligan's Isle. No, John Denver - "Rocky Mountain High"
We'll miss you Mike...

A story Mike wrote

Mike wrote a story, Morris, His Self, published in Electric Velocipede.

A poem Mike wrote

This is a poem Mike wrote for the literary 'zine The Morpo Review in 1994. (I found it via Google.) The email given for him is at Florida Atlantic U., so it must have been before he transferred to NYU.

Disclaimer by Michael A. Simanoff
published in Volume 1, Issue 4 on September 15th, 1994

This story has no moral.

It has very little literary value.
It tells a strand of a story,
and if you tug very hard you might find a point.
You will not find this story in a textbook one day.
Nor will it ever be the subject of scholarly debate.

This story has no context.
The background is a piece of paper-
maybe even a computer screen.
The only literary devices used are language and form,
but you are advised not to ask how.

In fact, you ought not to read this.
Just lean back and look at the pretty letters.
Maybe even have a drink.
Turn on the TV.

Expect very little
and you won't be disappointed.

Mike at a wine party...drinking beer

I love this picture of Mike. This was taken in 2003 at our friend Jean Marie's annual wine party. Mike drank beer. In this picture is my girlfriend Melinda and our friend Brian. Mike and Melinda loved each other. Melinda and I always joked with Mike that we were going to buy a house with a guest house on the property for Mike. I only just spoke to him about this two weeks ago, the last time I spoke to him. I loved the fact that Melinda and Mike got along so well...sometimes I felt like the third wheel. We used to joke and call him our adopted son.

A poem I wrote for Mike

We have a rewards & recognition program at work, when Mike achieved "bronze" status, I wrote this poem (sorry if some are inside jokes)

a start-up was founded 7 years ago
i was the ninth employee there
it lasted about five years or so
but it's where mike and i were first paired

he was like the 16th hire
and a real good one at that
helping with our research efforts
in the next office from mine he sat

we had lots of fun and laughs back then
phase2media was the name of the gig
of course the giggles came crashing down
when we went bankrupt really big

but mike had jettisoned before that day
off to grad school was his path
a masters in library info sciences
would be what he wanted to bask

but we kept in touch over the years
he ended up in the peach state
we needed a TAM for GM
i know mike would be really great was calling him
looking to bring him on
i told him how much they were lame
and we were much more fun

so smart was he - lucky were we
in chicago he's been a real hero
starcom cant say enough good things
about how he got them from impression number zero

perseus and dfa
mike has become a real master
a cool new tool and working with bigler
he's got us kick atlas' rear end with a sand blaster

Beer and Small Beer

Mike read more than anyone I know. He turned me on the literary 'zine, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, as well as other gems from Small Beer Press. We got a kick out of the fact that NYPL, where we both worked, had catalogued the publisher as 'Small Bear' (it's since been corrected in the catalogue). When we worked at NYPL I often checked his patron record to see what he was reading. He always had a million books on hold, all of them interesting. I would then check them out myself, but I only read a fraction of what Mike read. He was also very fond of the science fiction reading series at the KGB bar. I miss you, Mike.

Some more Mike IMs

I feel lucky that I have all these logged and enjoy reading them.. even if they were the mundane.. we both loved LOST and one day, this was his news for me:

simanoffM (9:36:09 AM): i noticed they're moving alias to after lost now. that's another show i like.
simanoffM (9:36:26 AM): i call that the "mike simanoff programming block"

but he didnt always like lost, as evidenced by these IMs:
simanoffM (12:23:47 PM): i thought i was watching PaxTV at the end
simanoffM (12:25:28 PM): they better get into some action for the next ep
simanoffM (12:25:38 PM): or i am going to start a blog just to complain about the show

also, Mike was THE key guy on a product called "Perseus" - that we developed custom for GM.. in the early days, it was a bit of chaos, but Mike really carried it on his back to become a real success story.. his musing on that was:

simanoffM (4:07:41 PM): i have a new name for perseus
simanoffM (4:07:44 PM): "hot fix"


Mike was always interested in new Internet phenomena, like social networking. This was the Testimonial I left for him on Friendster:

Mike is an alien genius whose powerful
mind swarmed the universe before
settling into the consciousness of an
innocent Earthman. As leader of a band
of freewheeling intergalactic pirates,
he uses his powers to bring about a
world where humans and mutants live in
And here's what he said about me:

Let's just say that of 8 million
people in this city, Laura's one of
maybe 5 who is cool and interesting
enough for me. I'll leave the wittier
and hopefully more embarrassing
testimonials to her other friends.
Here are links to Mike's Friendster and Orkut profiles. (I think you'll be able to view them even if you don't have an account.) Social networking sites have little captions on other peoples' profiles that tell you how you are linked. So when I view Mike's profile it says:

How you're connected:
Mike is your friend.

LinkedIn & delicious

I did manage to give Mike a nice endorsement on LinkedIn.. even better, he was a big promoter of delicious, he left a handful of links

The Three Stooges

This photo was taken a couple years ago at one of my birthday galas in New York City. Also in the picture is Mark Canup, another close childhood friend. He was also an important part of Mike's life. The three of us were real lady killers....

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Some More Photos Of Michael

I have just posted a few photos of Michael to my blog, The Daily Dave. If you ever wanted to see what Michael looked like as a nine-year-old, forced into a suit for my Bar Mitzvah, here's your chance.

I hope to post most photos to my personal blog and this memorial blog.

Going to miss you buddy...

Mike and I have been friends for almost 20 years. We met when he and his family moved back to the US after living in Europe (I think Spain). We both attended Forest Glen Middle School. Not many people know we were the inspiration for the movie 'Can't Buy Me Love'. I was Ronald Miller, and Mike was Kenneth "the Worm Man" Wurman. I think we were mentioned toward the end of the credits somewhere. Mike was the smart one, and I the social one. We sort of made one whole person. Yeah you guessed it...we sat at the dork table in our school's cafeteria, but we loved it there. Our friends from those years are still our most loyal and supportive. The news still doesn't seem real to me. I know I'll never be able to replace him. This week I've been going through all my photos from over the last 20 years...I have hundreds. I came to two conclusions...we drank a lot, and Mike always stuck out his tongue when a camera came out. I have endless memories...some of which I think I'll save for the Memorial in October. The weekend of October 13th (Mike's birthday)...mark your calendars!

Mike had many different groups of friends...some I never knew existed until his death. Sorry we all have to meet under these circumstances. I tried to get through to Mike on several fronts...he just couldn't get the fact that people loved him. He will always be in my thoughts.

A Message From Michael's Brother

As Michael's big brother, I want everyone to know how grateful everyone in the Simanoff family is for all of your messages and support. The blog is a wonderful tribute to Michael, and we're touched (but not surprised) to know that Michael was loved by so many people.

Many people have asked about flowers and memorial donations. We are asking people to make donations in Michael's memory to the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. The Web site is located at

Mike's community of bloggers

Mike touched other bloggers (not just me) - such as the Lady Crumpet. She has some really kind words to say about Mike. And another, rawbrick

One of Mike's blogs

Only now do I learn all of Mike's blogging.. this was one of his, and after 2 seconds it was clear as day that he was the only person on the planet who could author this.. it's funny, witty, and basically all Mike. Thanks to Mike's friend Laura (from library school) for sharing it with me and everyone else. I don't know where these blogs are hosted, but I hope they remain forever. There are other sites as well, we'll get those posted.

Mike tid-bits

Hi all.. first of all, a little more info, as I didn't realize how anonymous this blog seems. My name is Ben Saitz, and I was a good friend of Mike's. I created this site for anyone who Mike touched to share any thoughts of funny stories they had about Mike. I will gladly give anyone permission to post their own entries, just shoot me an email.. it's ben the at sign saitz dot com.

Also, I spoke with Mike's dad today.. they held the funeral yesterday and it was well attended by both family and friends. In addition, Mike would like his cemetary, an old Jewish one that his dad, Don, described as eclectic.. quite fitting, for those of us that knew Mike.

I also wanted to share how many people, from near and far, that have found the site and heard the sad news.. it's really touching how many people Mike managed to touch in his too short life.

This morning I read a review Mike had read on Amazon.. man, Mike was funny..

Monday, August 21, 2006

And a great Flickr..

Mike has this on his Flickr - this is SO him :-)

Jesus teaches baseball..

Another funny AIM from Mike

simanoffM (12:48:03 PM): dude, IE7 is a disaster
bsaitz (12:48:10 PM): it sucks
simanoffM (12:48:24 PM): it makes me want to vomit
bsaitz (12:48:40 PM): i have it @ home.. after years and all those engineers, this is all they can crank out???!?!?!!??!?
simanoffM (12:48:59 PM): and then they decide to move around all the controls that we've gotten used to finally after 10 years

Memorial details

I don't have it confirmed yet, but Mike's friend Ryan, is attempting to plan a memorial weekend in Tampa, probably the weekend of October 13th (his birthday weekend). Details will be posted as they become confirmed.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Mike dugg it

Like me, Mike loved digg - the site preserves the stories he dugg

OH, the IMs were funny

I also need to find my ones from when we hired Mike. I remember that GM just came up and they were going to need an on-site TAM, either Chi or Detroit. I started IMing with Mike and he was *this* close to taking a job in ad ops with, but we moved quick and got him to come work for us..

12/12/05 - simanoffM (10:12:08 PM): detroit is the ass of america

simanoffM (10:18:30 PM): i'm not so sure about this king kong movie
bsaitz (10:18:36 PM): yea, looks so-so
simanoffM (10:18:57 PM): i really want to be excited by it, but the previews aren't doing anything for me
bsaitz (10:19:25 PM): agreed .. and for some reason, jack black bores me.. and the whole kong thing looks like a snoozer
simanoffM (10:19:46 PM): even the sets and the special effects don't look right to me
bsaitz (10:20:17 PM): i know.. way digital
simanoffM (10:20:34 PM): i guess it was too hard to find a giant monkey they could train

simanoffM (10:30:41 PM): sinead o'connor is on letterman right now singing reggae
simanoffM (10:30:46 PM): and wearing a star of david
simanoffM (10:30:50 PM): this world is too weird for me
simanoffM (10:30:54 PM): good night!


simanoffM (10:36:48 AM): it was 100 degrees here yesterday too

simanoffM (10:37:27 AM): i am going to move to greenland, do we have an office there?


me and mike went for sushi when i was in town and we decided to get quail eggs.. it was nothing like what we expected (i.e. they werent cooked!)

simanoffM (9:45:15 AM): i think those quayle eggs made me sick
bsaitz (9:45:20 AM): sorry dude
bsaitz (9:45:24 AM): i could eat nails, i'm fine
simanoffM (9:45:27 AM): lol
simanoffM (9:46:01 AM): i'll be fine, was just a bit unsteady this am


simanoffM (10:33:53 AM): every since i moved here, the white sox won the world series, and it has been the warmest winter in decades...

10/25/06 - mike saw the future

simanoffM (4:57:14 PM): google is unstoppable

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Another good photo

Thanks to Nicole for sharing another good photo.. I'm unsure how "personal" to make this blog, but I think it's fair to say that the pictures are almost too painful for me. The memories are just hazy enough that I can work through them, but the photos just make me think he'll be back soon.. which he won't..

The other guy is one of his 2 brothers.. I think one lives in atlanta, the other in florida.. i think the FLA one is jeff, who works for a newspaper (just google for him).

More insights via links

Mike had a nice collection of books in his list on Amazon... he also had an interesting Flickr account (i think it's his.. am I wrong?)

The Socks Said It All!

The socks! How could we miss the socks (Christian, thanks for reminding us!)

The mismatched socks were always Mike's personal fashion "statement." I asked him about it once and he told me this trend started sometime back in high school.

And it was so *him.* I'm pretty sure he put the same care and thought into selecting the non-matches that others put into choosing a "coordinated outfit!"

The socks were Mike, through and through. When the world zigged, he zagged with a second thought. He was bright, creative, well read and funny. Not to mention innovative and a blast to work with. And a great friend.

When I was first asked to work with him at Phase2Media, my assignment was to mentor Mike in the ways of "traditional" media research.
At the end of the day, I'm sure I was the student learning more than I taught in the Mike's many eclectic areas of expertise, from the New World of the Internet to the fine points of Russian Literature...

Its really sad to know that the next time I find some off beat/silly/ironic internet story to send to Mike, he won't be writing back with a funny response or a similar find.

Mike, we miss you. Its really sad to think you won't be along for the rest of the ride. Your friendship and insight will be sorely missed by everyone who knew you.

-dave zornow

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

this post hurts!

mike, mike, mike -- you really let them quote you in a press release about breathe and bluestreak!? ouch! that hurts.

Mike didn't visit the NY Public Library, he went to school there

Mike left Phase2Media to go back and get his Masters, Library Information Sciences.. I did find this one article about how to find resources in psychology he had authored.. looks like mostly references, good thing he didnt end up doing that full-time ;-)

A site he never got to finish

Mike and I once competed for the most epinions on the site.. this is like 1999.. i dont remember who won, but apparently his lame site is still up. He used to have - but he let that go, probably when the i33 stopped with the free hosting :-) (p.s. my lame epinions site is still alive too..

The Employee Note

This was the note sent internally:

"Some of you may have already heard that our GTS team has lost a valuable member of our organization. We were notified last night that Michael Simanoff has passed away. We are awaiting details from his family regarding memorial arrangements and will send an update when we know more information.

Michael was a DFA TAM and located in our Chicago Office. He relocated from Atlanta to Chicago to help when we needed a super strong TAM for our new client, GM. Ben Saitz, along with a few other GTS'ers, had worked with Michael in the past and thought he would be a perfect fit. He has been a critical member of the team from the time he walked in the door, that has helped to make GM a large and happy customer. Michael was a graduate of NYU and also received a Masters in Library Information Sciences. He has also worked for i33, Phase2Media and Breathe Interactive. Michael has worked with Ben Saitz, Christian Hartgens and Nicole Pruess in the past.

Michael was a huge Beatles fan, a voracious reader and a kind friend. He has two brothers and his parents reside in Jacksonville, FL. He loved NYC, but also enjoyed Chicago."

More random memories

  • Mike graduated from NYUMike worked for an online agency i33, in NY, then with Ben (and Christian) at Phase2Media. Mike was a key contributor to the research department, but was always strong with the tech side as well - he had just learned SQL..Mike left to go back to school and got a Masters in Library Information Sciences (in NYC)Mike then relo'ed to Atlanta and worked for interactive shop Breathe InteractiveLast fall, DoubleClick needed a super strong TAM for our new client, GM - Ben reached out to Mike - who was a perfect fit! He relo'ed to Chicago to help and was a critical member of the team that has helped make GM a large and happy customer
  • Some personal notes:Mike was a huge Beatles fanMike was a voracious reader, I could never name a book he hadnt readMike was close friends with Nicole Pruess, EMEA Consultant on Stephen White's teamMike had 2 brothers, and his parents reside in Jacksonville, FL

Christian Hartgens adds some good memories

  • The mismatch socks he used to wear; a gusty but very effective move
  • His incredible generosity of giving his time to assist anyone who asked without complaint
  • His humor often added much needed levity to otherwise boring or stressful meeting This always elped to take the edge off and relax everyone

Our sad loss

Mike Simanoff has passed away.. we don't have many details yet, but I'll use this blog to post any details for those who were lucky enough to know Mike.
What we do know is that Mike apparently passed away in his Chicago high-rise apartment. He was last seen at the DoubleClick offices on Friday, August 11, 2006.
Mike's parents, from Jacksonville, Florida, should be in Chicago by now, they drove up from FL last night.