this is the test body
I was working for "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in April 2003, our gregarious executive producer, Daniel Kellison, convinced a few notable Red Sox players to be our guest announcers before a three-game series in Anaheim.1 This wasn't a ratings ploy, just a way for the show's New England transplants to hang out with as many Boston players as possible. When we learned Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez were coming, we were infinitely more excited than for Britney Spears' appearance six months later.
"And we're going out afterward!" Daniel predicted gleefully. "We're taking them out!"
Manny Ramirez in 2004 World Series
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
These facts remain indisputable: Manny is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the big reasons The Curse is no more.
To Daniel's disbelief, I made myself a game-time decision. See, I think like a fan, write like a fan and try like hell to keep it that way. If I went drinking with my favorite players, I might see things that couldn't be unseen. That was verified right after the show finished, when everyone poured into our legendary green room and I caught one of my heroes eyeing three scantily clad bimbos like a starving cheetah stalking a herd of grazing deer.2 That was it for me. In retrospect, I should have gone out because my buddies passed along every upsetting nugget anyway. Like the player who yanked his wedding ring off with an exaggerated pull while dancing with one of our attractive co-workers, the implication being, "Tonight, I'm single, baby!" Every time I watched the Sox from then on, when Wedding Ring Guy came to bat, I thought of him hitting on our 22-year-old talent assistant and jamming that ring in his pocket. And you wonder why I never want to drink with my favorite players.
Daniel wasn't nearly as bothered, even gushing the following day, "This was one of the great nights of my life." I made my exit stage right as he was herding a swollen group of players and co-workers to a nearby Hollywood club in two stretch limousines. Sadly, I missed David Ortiz pulling out an AmEx card in Daniel's limo, waving it with his signature gap-toothed smile and announcing happily, "I got Manny's credit card tonight!" Everyone cheered like they'd just won the pennant. With Manny riding in the other limo, they started telling "Manny Being Manny" stories, like how Manny routinely stuffed uncashed paychecks in the top shelf of his locker. Seems he rarely got around to cashing them. The checks were for $978,000 every two weeks during the season. (Big Papi knew the exact number because he made a team employee show him one.) Manny lived in a one-bedroom condo outside of Boston until Ortiz joined the club and made him relocate to the presidential suite at the Four Seasons. Daniel thought Manny's teammates made him sound like Tom Hanks in "Big," a little kid trapped in an adult's body. Everyone got a sincere kick out of him. Or so it seemed.3
They arrived at the club and Daniel started ordering drinks left and right. After all, Manny was paying! Three fun hours that I'm a fool for passing up ensued. The check arrived. Papi pulled out Manny's card, felt an unexpected twinge of guilt and confessed.4 And Manny -- the alleged idiot savant with uncashed checks spilling out of his locker, the so-called dummy who stumbled into a record contract and should have been conned into paying for everything by his much, much, much smarter teammates -- was laughing and saying, "Nononono, I'm not paying" before grabbing the card after a friendly tussle. Manny might have been dumb enough to lose his AmEx card, but he was also smart enough to get it back.
The check sat there. And it sat there.
You know who ended up paying? Daniel. Quite possibly the poorest guy there. Five years later, he remembers the exact figure: "860 dollars." Only in Hollywood.
Former Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota is on Capitol Hill today meeting with his erstwhile colleagues.
Like any important speech, Barack Obama's inaugural address was actually several speeches rolled into one. Each string of rhetoric the new president wove on this historic occasion holds different meaning for American progressives, a weary group following eight disastrous years of conservative war and plunder and hungry for a brand of change that goes far beyond a slogan. Ultimately, it was a mixed bag -- hopeful signs, but of a distinctly conventional sort of change. A dramatic move from the far reaches of the right, but with threads that conservatives might have found attractive.
Huge throngs came to Washington to watch President-elect Barack Obama get sworn into office and attend one, or if they were lucky, several balls, parties and events. Widely billed as the biggest celebration ever to come to town, visitors couldn't help but notice that the grassroots progressive groups that helped get Obama elected are far from fading into the background until the next round of elections. Instead, those visitors -- and perhaps some Washington insiders, too -- were forced to see the advertisements spread across D.C.'s transit system proclaiming that MoveOn.org is preparing to throw its full weight behind immediately launching bold progressive reforms.
Over the past eight years, the gap between most Americans' perception of their country's role in world affairs and that of the citizens of other nations has grown into a yawning chasm. For several years, global public opinion polls have found that a majority of the planet's residents believe the United States plays a "mainly negative" role in world affairs.
Tomorrow, I will allow my cynicism to return; I’ll face up to the fact that we now have an instinctive centrist tasked with digging us out of the deep hole in which we find ourselves.
Millions of people are expected to descend on the nation's capital for the inauguration of Barack Obama. It is unprecedented: churches, temples, mosques and tribal councils have hired buses to attend. Schools are closing for the day. Universities are setting up JumboTrons to watch the festivities. Global media will join the dancing in the streets.
He started two disastrous wars that have left millions dead or displaced, sat by while a major American city was destroyed, oversaw the evaporation of trillions of dollars in wealth and will leave office as one of the most loathed figures in American history.
Editor's note: A Salvadoran immigrant who works as a cleaner at Union Station in the nation's capital watched the festivities as she did her job. She shared her hopes for a new Obama presidency with New York-based NAM editor Anthony D. Advincula.
It was a moment of victory in the political cultural war that has gripped the United States since the tumultuous days of the 1960s. It came in the middle of the inauguration celebration held at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday. And its bearer was Garth Brooks. The man who has epitomized country music, the official music of Red-State America, was hailing the election of a man who represents what many people with a Red-State mentality oppose: an America that embraces liberal attitudes of diversity and tolerance, that does not equate Ivy League-style education with effete elitism, and that does not hold on to traditions to block social change and progress. True, Brooks is no rock-ribbed redneck. His 1992 song, “We Shall Be Free.” essentially endorsed gay marriage. But when he performed the old Isley Brothers soul classic, “Shout,” before a massive crowd of Obama supporters, you could almost hear some Red-Staters wail, “They’ve turned our Garth into a black guy!” When he finished, Brooks doffed his cowboy hat toward President-elect Barack Obama, who sat with his family to the side of the stage.