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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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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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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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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Thanks again from the Garnick Justice League!

Approaching the Finish Line in the 2014 CHaD Hero Family Fun Run!

Approaching the Finish Line in the 2014 CHaD Hero Family Fun Run!

Iron Man and Iron Man Jr. thank you from the bottom of their Arc Reactor hearts — as does Batgirl with her human one — for your generous support in our run for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth.

Thanks, too, for humoring us and overlooking the fact that there are now two Marvel characters in our Justice League.

If you’d still like to donate, I believe that my CHaD Hero fundraising page is still active till the end of the month.

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Tony Stark Lab Test: Iron Man Mask is Breathable, Water Resistant

Training for the CHaD Hero Run for Children's Hospital at Dartmouth on October 26. (Double click Iron Man's mask to donate!)

Training for the CHaD Hero Run for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth on October 26. (Double click Iron Man’s mask to donate!)

During yesterday’s rainstorm, which kept switching from drizzle to downpour, I decided to run my regular neighborhood route in an Iron Man mask. The mission: Determine whether I will be able to see and breathe during Sunday’s CHaD Hero race at Dartmouth College.

Here’s what I discovered:

PROS — Mask shields face from rain and wind, blocks facial expressions so bystanders do not know if I am out of breath.

CONS — Loss of peripheral vision, can’t see my feet, very difficult to scratch my nose.

Overall, though, I was pleasantly surprised how much oxygen seeps through the eye holes and under the chin. I had no trouble breathing in this mask despite the tiny mouth and non-existent nostrils.

I have no idea if I got any funny looks from the neighbors or passing cars because I am nearsighted and without my glasses I cannot see distant faces.

I’m now ready for Sunday!

The Garnick Justice League, in an historic first, recently began accepting superhero members from Marvel.

The Garnick Justice League, in an historic first, recently began accepting superhero members from Marvel.

It’s not too late to support the Garnick Justice League‘s run for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD).

Donations of any size would be most appreciated!

POSTSCRIPT – The Stonehill College sweatshirt is a souvenir from when I produced a student recruitment video a few years ago. How pathetic is it that I no longer own a sweatshirt from my alma mater?

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Book Report: Summer of ’68 – Peacemaking Tigers & The Knitter Who Tackled RFK’s Killer

summer of 1968 005

Just finished reading “Summer of ’68,” Tim Wendel’s retelling of the 1968 baseball season intertwined with the horrific series of events that happened while I was learning how to crawl: Assassinations of MLK & RFK, Vietnam War, racial riots in American cities, riots at the Democratic Convention, pretty much riots everywhere.

I much prefer nonfiction over fiction when I get a chance to read anything longer than the back of a cereal box. Here are some fascinating snippets I learned in the book:

1. The 1968 World Champion Detroit Tigers were credited with preventing their city from burning down that year.

Willie Horton 2

Slugger Willie Horton, not to be confused with the furloughed convict who brought down the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign, put his life on the line to keep peace in the streets. After a July 1967 night game at Tiger Stadium against the Yankees, Horton climbed up on the roof of his car (still in his baseball uniform) and pleaded with a crowd of rioters in his childhood neighborhood to go home and chill out. The rioters recognized Horton — and presumably respected him because he was not hurt — but they were not in the mood to listen to speeches. Continue reading

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