Tag Archives: John Kerry

Secretary of State: The Perfect Gig to Build Up Your Ego Wall

Is it time to commission another Ego Study of the U.S. Senate? Our clipboards are ready.

Is it time to commission another Ego Study of the U.S. Senate? Our clipboards are ready.

Congratulations on your new State Department gig, Senator Kerry. Can’t wait to see your new office…

So right before the 2010 midterm elections, photographer Ilya Mirman and I embarked on an unprecedented visual data analysis project attempting to rank political egos in the U.S. Senate. The Vanity Index algorithm was based on how many times a Senator displayed a picture of him or herself on their wall and how many celebrities were in those pictures — offset by how many times the Senators promoted their home states.

It wasn’t even close. U.S. Sen. John Kerry, the keynote speaker at my University of Massachusetts graduation (oh, and the 2004 Democratic nominee for President), ran away with the contest as you can see below.

There's still some white space on Sen. John Kerry's office wall -- still some future photo-ops to brag about.

There’s still some white space on Sen. John Kerry’s office wall — still some future photo-ops to brag about.

He was the Mr. Incredible of the U.S. Senate, a title that his spokesperson shrewdly embraced. And now that he’ll be meeting world leaders 2-3 times a week, he’s gonna need A LOT MORE wall space.

Mr. Incredible: The Original John Kerry. (Double click for more details).

Mr. Incredible: The Original John Kerry. (Double click for more details).

So check out the original Vanity Index — and let Ilya and me know if you’d like an Ego Study conducted at your company or organization.


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Filed under Election 2010, Political Satire, politics, Vanity Index

Kerry Rules, Yankees Suck?

Did John Kerry lose the 2004 presidential election over improper messaging?

From the right-hand corner of the political button display in my office: The Fred Flintstone presidential campaign shares equal time with Jimmy Carter, George Bush, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon (notice the name of his running mate?).

But my most curious political souvenir comes from the streets outside Boston’s Fleet Center at the 2004 Democratic National Convention: Kerry Rules, Yankees Suck.

Strangely, there is no punctuation. There should be one if not two exclamation points.

Given that Red Sox fans have been known to inexplicably chant “Yankees Suck!” at Celtics, Bruins and Patriots games, as well as at concerts, it’s not so surprising it would surface on the national political stage — regardless if the voters in the 44 non-New England states ever got the joke.

Now that the Red Sox unfortunately do suck, it will be fascinating to see what happens to the “Yankees Suck!” cheer.

Here’s betting that the bitterness and resentment outside Fenway Park gets much much worse.  Ironically, scapegoating the Bronx Bombers just made a cameo in the Scott Brown / Elizabeth Warren U.S. Senate race.

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Filed under Asinine Baseball Analogies, Red Sox, Sports Psychology, Yankee Stadium

Senator Kerry: I’ll frame your article about my vanity and add it to my Ego Wall!

It doesn’t get any more meta than this.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry’s office embraces his #1 vanity ranking in the Senate, AND he vows to frame the article for his already-overcrowded Ego Wall in Washington.

Along with photographer Ilya Mirman, I determined the level of conceit and self-worship in all 100 senators. We counted the number of times they hung up pictures of themselves, giving special weight to poses with world leaders, U.S. presidents and celebrities we could recognize.

It is the first mathematical formula in history to accurately measure and compare political egos.

Kerry’s spokesperson, Whitney Smith, defended Kerry’s shrine-like office decor (which includes 99 pictures of himself on the wall) in an interview with the Boston Herald.

“Make no mistake, John Kerry absolutely pleads guilty to loving his late friends Ted Kennedy and Tim Russert, and working with Bono to combat AIDS in Africa and negotiating with President Karzai in Afghanistan to save the 2009 election,” she said. “If that’s vanity, bring it on!”

In fact, said Smith, the senator would go one better! To celebrate his No. 1 finish, “we plan to get pictures taken with the 99 runners-up.” What’s more, she said, “we plan to take a picture of this article and hang it on our wall.”

Oh yeah, Whitney, well we plan to take a picture of your framed article and hang it on our wall.

I do love how she takes ownership over the Ego Wall, but using my favorite cheerleading movie’s “Bring It On” challenge is a bit too much.

If you are in the mood for a little calculus, here’s a glimpse of The Vanity Formula. Click on the equation for a full explanation!

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Filed under Election 2010, politics, Vanity Index

WALKING IN ALLIGATOR SHOES: Being a minor league baseball mascot is not as easy as it looks

POWERFUL FRIENDS: U.S. Sen. John Kerry yuks it up with the Lowell Spinners Canaligator, before the mascot's redesign. (Courtesy of the Lowell Spinners)

THE WORKING STIFF – By Darren Garnick
“GATOR AID: It’s all fun and games until a mascot loses an eye”

The Boston Herald — June 27, 2007
Dragging my clumsy, oversized feet and sagging tail through a
labyrinth of picnic tables last weekend, I knew instantly that my
career as a minor league baseball mascot was over.

After the pre-game meet-and-greet session outside the ballpark, I
would turn in my alligator snout. It was the only honorable thing to
do. Lowell Spinners fans expected to be entertained by a gregarious,
upbeat Canaligator (named for the city’s majestic Venetian waterways),
and I was a feeble reptile at best.

Under the tutelage of full-time gator Steve Nicholson, a 17-year-old
junior at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School, I thrived in the
job’s social role. When people embraced me, I returned the love. I
even hugged the thuggish-looking characters I’d ordinarily never make
eye contact with.

Just two problems: I couldn’t see and I couldn’t breathe.

Based on a costume fitting the previous week, I knew the vision
thing would be an issue. The alligator snout tends to droop over the
eye holes, and the snug-fitting head does not accommodate my glasses.
But from my brief immersion, I did not anticipate the stale air flow.
I did not expect to be gagging.

The sleeker, hipper modern Canaligator, a.k.a. me, greets fans outside the ballpark.

Nicholson, formerly known to Spinners fans as the “Wave Man” who dances
on the dugouts, shared the breaking news with his fellow mascots. I
would no longer be participating in the Dizzy Bat Contest, the Chicken
Dance or the Dancing With The Gators.

“He just doesn’t want to do it anymore,” he told his mascot wife,
Allie Gator, and mascot daughter, Millie Gator.

“It’s not that I don’t want to do it,” I
protested. “I simply cannot live up to your professional standards.
The fans deserve much better.”

“Well, I didn’t want to say the word can’t,” the diplomatic Nicholson said.

Hanging out in the mascot dressing room, I realized that all the
full-time gators were built like dancers and athletes. The real
Canaligator, who wears skin-tight black Under Armour under his suit,
looks like a Navy SEAL. I was happy when they tore off their heads
during a break and I saw them sweating profusely and gasping for
oxygen. It meant we had something in common.

During the fifth inning, as I was shadowing the Canaligator on his way
to greet birthday party guests, a rambunctious kid darted from behind
and slapped the mascot on the back. I wasn’t sure if it was a hostile
smack or an affectionate one. Nicholson would later tell me that he’s
“been beaten many times in a playful way” by children and drunken
college students.

Newly sympathetic about his limited scope of vision, I now considered
myself to be the Canaligator’s bodyguard. The backslap kid seemed to
be still trailing us, but what were his motives? Was that a souvenir
mini-bat by his side or was it a potential assault weapon? I couldn’t
be sure, but I was ready to bodycheck him into the concession stands
just in case.

Turns out that the kid just wanted a gator hug.

Ironically, vision problems wound up benching the Canaligator after
all (even though my nearsightedness had nothing to do with it). For
the last three innings of the game, official mascot escort Nicole
Piliponis clutched her cell phone in crisis mode.

“The Canaligator’s eye fell off and we can’t find it,” she informed
her supervisor in a somber tone. “What about ‘Gates?'”

“Gates” is one of the most vital mascot responsibilities, giving
departing fans one last chance to bond with Lowell’s loveable gator

In what can only be described as a Canaligator Miracle, Nicholson
found his alter ego’s plastic eye in a pile of rocks underneath the
first base dugout. He made it to Gates, only to have the same eye
fall off again while he was hugging a five-year-old girl.

Alerted by his escort, the Canaligator stuck his claw over his wounded
eye and rushed to the elevator.

“Luckily, she didn’t even notice. Her dad hid it pretty well,” a
relieved Nicholson later said. “We’re not in the business of freaking
kids out.”

Darren Garnick’s “Working Stiff” column runs every Wednesday in the
Boston Herald. For an extra helping, visit “The Working Stiff” blog.

Click here for exclusive tips on how to be the best mascot you can be and more behind-the-scenes insights on the Lowell Spinners Canaligator.

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Filed under Darren's Archive Vault, Mascot Misery, Red Sox, Red Sox Schlock, Sports