Tag Archives: photo-ops

Mitt Flintstone: Does the next Commander-in-Chief need to know about cartoons?

With the world watching, Mitt Romney makes eye contact with Dino.

Mitt Romney holds Dino like he's doing a laundry detergent commercial.

Mitt Romney boldly looks off into the distance, giving Dino hope about the future.

Mitt Romney can’t catch a break.

New York Magazine mocks him for never having a hair out of place, recently kicking it up a notch with “The Many Hair Styles of Mitt Romney” slideshow (they all look the same to me, no Hillary Clinton headbands in the mix).

TIME Magazine just came out with its future Mitt Romney Presidential Library contribution: the WHY DON’T THEY LIKE ME? cover.

And “Cheerleader Mitt,” an innocuous YouTube clip I just posted of Mitt leading a cheer about himself, has attracted some hostile commentary only seconds after going live.

I’m not ready to bestow the coveted “Culture Schlock” endorsement on any candidates yet, but I don’t understand the intensity of the “Anyone But Mitt” movement.  He is one of the few Republicans running in the New Hampshire Primary who is NOT a nutcake. And at a recent campaign stop outside a local diner, I found Romney to be extremely likeable.

He was handing out free BLT sandwiches and posing for pictures with voters, basking in the afterglow of U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte‘s endorsement.  I don’t eat BLTs and can’t easily be bribed (it takes at least a lamb skewer to get my vote). On a lark, I stuck a stuffed animal in Romney’s face and asked him to pose. In a deep over-the-top newscaster voice, I said: “Governor, how about a picture of you and Dino Flintstone?”

He paused quizzically and then just rolled with it. “Ah, the Flintstones…” he sighed as if he were reminiscing about an old girlfriend. “I remember watching the very first episode!”  As you can see from the photos above (taken on regular shutter speed, not the sports setting), Romney lingered a bit with Dino and seemed to enjoy the moment.  Surely, it was a heckuva lot more preferable than answering another question on ObamaCare or RomneyCare.

My friend Ilya asked him a tough question about Guns N’ Roses.  And to Romney’s credit, he didn’t pull a Hillary Clinton “Number One Yankees Fan” moment. He admitted he wasn’t that familiar with the music and offered Ilya a BLT sandwich as a consolation prize.  Had he picked a random song like “Welcome to the Jungle,” just to have an answer, it would have been pandering and just plain embarrassing.

I learned this the hard way.

In Sixth Grade, I used to doodle the AC/DC and Led Zeppelin logos on my notebooks and grocery bag book covers because I thought it would look cool. If I could go back into time and change one thing in my life, it would be that. My friends would have still respected me if I had scribbled Steely Dan and Foreigner. And if they didn’t, that would have been an invaluable life lesson.

But back to Romney.  Do I think people should vote for him because he’s now trying extra hard to be fun and bantery on the campaign trail?

Of course not. But if I were putting in grueling 14-18 hour days shaking hands with sweaty strangers, I think having a sense of humor about it would keep me sane.

Besides, I kinda want a Commander-in-Chief who has seen every Flintstones episode.


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Filed under Election 2012, Flintstones, Political Satire

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