Are we bad luck charms for the 2015 Boston Red Sox?


Consider this: Every time that Erik and I have posed with the Dustin Pedroia height chart at Fenway Park, he has gone on the disabled list. Mere minutes after this photograph was taken, the Sox second baseman pulled his hamstring.

Granted, this has only happened once, but I wonder if we might be bad karma for the 2015 last-place Red Sox?

I say this despite once having the following riveting conversation with Pedroia in a hotel lobby:

Me: “Hey, good game tonight!”

Pedroia: (Making direct eye contact) “Thanks.”

That historic moment was documented on CNN if you’d like to learn more.


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Filed under Red Sox Schlock, Sports Psychology

Boy Scout Bruce Jenner

Bruce Jenner Boy Scout ad-web

From my childhood autograph collection. I think they had one of these ads for President Gerald Ford and home run champ Hank Aaron, too.

When you help start a Boy Scout troop, there’s no guarantee you’ll grow up to star on a cheesy E! reality show after winning the Olympic Decathlon. But you never know.

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If Clark Kent Were Created Today, He’d Be a Content Marketing Specialist

Copyediting used to be as important as punching bad guys in the face.

Copyediting used to be as important as punching bad guys in the face.

Motivated by my children’s need to eat, I left the world of print journalism long ago. Maybe saying I “fled” the world of print journalism is more accurate. But I still reflexively cringe every time newspapers take a beating.

Via industry sage Jim Romenesko, I just learned that Newspaper Reporter was just ranked the “Worst Job of 2015” out of 200 professions. Here are the Best and Worst Job Choices of 2015, based on a study by

Best Jobs of 2015 vs. How They Fared in 2014 (With Midlevel Income)

1. Actuary (+3) $94,209
2. Audiologist (+3) $71,133
3. Mathematician (-2) $102,182
4. Statistician (-1) $79,191
5. Biomedical Engineer (+7) $89,165
6. Data Scientist (N/A) $124,149
7. Dental Hygienist (-1) $71,102
8. Software Engineer (-1) $93,113
9. Occupational Therapist (no change) $77,114
10. Computer Systems Analyst (-2) $81,150

Worst Jobs of 2015 vs. How They Fared in 2014
200. Newspaper Reporter (-1) $36,267
199. Lumberjack (+1) $34,110
198. Enlisted Military Personnel (no change) $28,840
197. Cook (-2) $42,208
196. Broadcaster (no change) $55,380
195. Photojournalist (-9) $29,267
194. Corrections Officer (-3) $39,163
193. Taxi Driver (+4) $23,118
192. Firefighter (no change) $45,264
191. Mail Carrier (-7) $41,068

The thing is that I wouldn’t want to spend my life doing any of the Top 10 Best Jobs, while four of the Worst Jobs still have tremendous appeal to me. For those of you who worship metrics, here is some more scary data about being a reporter – including the breaking news that it is a stressful and unstable position:

newspaper reporter stats

When I was a kid, all the cool superheroes had journalism gigs for day jobs. Superman, Spider-Man, Green Hornet, Underdog (well, he was a newspaper delivery boy like me). If these superheroes were created today, they’d all be working as content marketing specialists or as social media managers.

Not that there is anything shameful about those jobs – some of my best friends work in content marketing – but I just can’t picture Clark Kent bragging about his click-through rate and Klout score to Lois Lane.

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Filed under Career Advice

My Mortgage Company Wished Me a Happy Birthday!

mortgage birthday wishes

My mortgage company just wished me a Happy Birthday in my “important messages” box.

The most heartwarming part? The Print This Page option so I can display their card on my refrigerator.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Beauty, Brains & Burps (and Why the Secret to World Peace is Playing Footsies!)


LOOK, IT’S AN ONION! — Miss Universe Ghana Abena Appiah won’t be losing any points for enthusiasm. (Source: Instagram/@AbenaAkuaba)

For her exceptional ability to grill vegetables alone, I will be rooting for Miss Ghana Abena Appiah tonight to win it all at the Miss Universe Pageant.

I had the surreal experience of “competing” with Miss Ghana on the same “runway” last fall, an experience which I just spun into a humor column for CNN, “Can the Miss Universe Pageant Save the World?

In the column, I express admiration for Ms. Appiah’s ability to “burp more than 50 times in a row,” which she brags about on her official Miss Universe bio. Would be awesome if this skill is showcased during the talent competition.

Darren Garnick Humor Column CNN Tweet
If burping contests cannot bring nations closer together, perhaps there is hope in giving world leaders matching socks. Look at the amazing impact this tactic had on Miss Turkey and Miss Italy, who wound up playing footsies with their Miss Universe sashes at their “Roomie-Pajama Party.”


Exclusive Photos of the Miss Turkey-Miss Italy “Roomie-Pajama Party.”  Source: Facebook/Miss Universe (Click to enlarge)

Italy and Turkey last went to war in 1911 (the Italo-Turkish War), battling for the North African Turkish provinces of Tripolitana and Cyrenaica, which are part of modern Libya. Italy ultimately prevailed, whetting their appetite for future expansionist aggression in World War II.

But after a pajama party, all is forgotten.

Whattya say, Miss Lebanon and Miss Israel?

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Filed under CNN Columns, Miss Universe

EXODUS REBOOT: Are You Ready for an Ass-Kicking Moses?

Time for Moses to Kick Some Ass.

BIBLICAL BOXING POSTER: Time for Moses to Kick Some Ass.

Moses vs. Pharaoh: THIS TIME IT’S PERSONAL.

I got what I expected from Christian Bales’ new movie: Batman channeling Moses.

“EXODUS: Gods and Kings” is far more violent than Charlton Heston’s campy performance in “The Ten Commandments,” and maybe that’s a good thing. Somewhere in all the oohing and ahhing over Egypt’s ancient tourist sites and art museum mummy exhibits, we’ve overlooked the brutal reality of slavery and the fact that the real Pharaohs were sadistic bastards — not just the inspiration for Bangles songs or Broadway musicals.

Like all Egyptian movie characters, this Ramses wears way too much eyeliner, but his temperament is not so pretty. He’s willing to chop off Miriam’s arm for hiding Moses’ Hebrew roots.

No worries, though. Moses doesn’t let it happen. He yells at Pharaoh and it’s enough for his sword to suddenly freeze midswing. Moses does a lot of yelling in this movie. And he sticks his sword in a lot of stomachs — both for and against the Egyptians depending on his mood.

Ever notice in your Passover Haggadah how all the fight scenes are overshadowed by prayers and songs? That’s not an issue in EXODUS: Gods and Kings. The above movie poster, which looks like Rocky Balboa telling Ivan Drago to “Go For It,” pretty much sums up director Ridley Scott’s take on the Bible.

There’s one scene in particular where Moses is training haggard Hebrew slaves to be champion horseback archers by teaching them to shoot hanging slabs of meat when I asked myself, “Why didn’t they teach me this stuff in Hebrew School?” And “When does Moses start punching the meat?” Continue reading

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Filed under Bible Movies

Time Travel

Fresh Pretzel Wrapped In Newspaper, Downtown Istanbul (1990s)

Fresh Pretzel Wrapped In Newspaper, Downtown Istanbul, 1990s (Double click to enlarge)

In honor of Turkey Day, here’s a Turkey photo from when their country wasn’t being run by a lunatic. I love this pretzel vendor scene because it looks like a 1970s Darren was transported back to the 1940s. But that is 1990s Instanbul, perhaps on a day when they hired a bunch of black and white extras. Definitely double click on this one and marvel that this is NOT a Photoshopped scene!

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