It's not that I relish hearing the grating, Bronx-accented voice on my message machine when I return home at night. There are countless better ways of getting the evening underway. But this rambling, stumbling message was different. The thing had the makings of a decent After Hours post stamped all over it. Dave has been living happily with his new Panasonic CT-27D12D direct-view set and Sony 725 DVD player for weeks now. He can even operate the menu systems without having to call the only A/V freak he knows. And it's not unusual to come home to messages announcing the purchase of yet another DVD. From a friendship-threatening phase of slamming my obsession with DVD to building his own fledgling library of nearly twenty discs at this writing, Dave has slowly ascended the evolutionary ladder and come close to qualifying as a modern human. He is almost there. So, in crystal-clear digital playback on my new Motorola MD-480 2.14 gHz Space Command Astroblast nuclear-powered digital phone system, the gnaws-at-your-nerves voice prattled on with obvious enthusiam: "Jack, I picked up some new DVDs today. I'm gonna call you back, though, because I need your advice. I wanted to pick up an IMAX DVD, Blue Planet. But I was confused by the information on back. "It said, 'Standard Version: This film is presented in its theatrical aspect ratio.' "This isn't 'widescreen' is it, Jack? I don't want to get it if it's not widescreen." I couldn't help but smile. Even though my easily confused friend gets a lot, if not most, things wrong, Dave is clearly stumbling toward a higher state. He called me the next day at work. "Dave," I said to him, "don't choke on your Corn Flakes, but I'm really starting to be proud of you. Your heart is in the right place, and I'm going to tell around 40,000 of my favorite people about it." "What? That Home Theater Forum thing again?" "Right, Dave. They, like me, have been following your progress in human development." Then I launched into an easy-to-understand explanation for him. "Dave, just answer my questions here and I'll tell you about that Blue Planet disc. "Tell me what you first notice about the film and the screen when you go to an IMAX theater." "It's [explitive] big!" "True. But what else do you notice about the screen." "The sound's awesome!" "The screen, Dave, the screen. Not the speakers." Silence. And then a burst of Bronx brashness: "It's square!" "Right, Dave. So there you go. IMAX is current technology, but it's presented in the old-fashioned square shape that used to be universal. "So, buddy, I'm really happy here. You're asking all the right questions and your heart's in the right place. That couldn't always have been said about you. In fact, just the opposite. You've usually been a lou --" "OK, OK, I hear you. So I can go ahead and get this DVD?" "Yes, Dave, go get the DVD." Meanwhile, his new girlfriend is also purchasing DVDs for both herself and the lunk. Reinforcement. Hardly any propaganda was necessary. Will post again when his transformation into a human is complete.