I have not posted a lot of baseball players here since the list of possibilities is massive and it's nice to highlight lots of sports, not just the one (along with hockey) that probably constitutes the bulk of foreign athletes in this country.
But tonight I'm watching the World Series and in case it ends tonight (and it's looking like it at as the Red Sox lead here in the 7th), I should get at least one player mentioned.
So I'm picking Japanese star player Kazuo Matsui who came to the US as the first Japanese infielder when he joined the Mets in 2003. He had a rough season in 2005 and was traded to the Rockies last year. His season has been much better this year and he hit his first grand slam in the National League Division Series against the Phillies a few weeks ago which helped give the Rockies a lead they would not relinquish. Matsui also hit a double and a triple in the game, falling just a single short of becoming the only player to hit a cycle during a post season game.
"I see dead people."
If you are a fan of the American cinema, you'll recognize this phrase from The Sixth Sense, one of the best movies of the last decade (and one whose surprise ending was nothing short of brilliant, in my opinion). It was written and directed by Manoj Nelliattu Shyamalan, an Indian immigrant known professionally as M. Night Shyamalan. Shyamalan is widely recognized as one of the leading directors in Hollywood and, aside from The Sixth Sense, he is responsible for films like Signs, Unbreakable and The Village. He also wrote the popular children's film Stuart Little.
The Sixth Sense earned Shyamalan the Academy Award nomination for best Director and best screenplay at the young age of 29. The American Film Institute named the film one of the 100 greatest motion pictures of all time, one of the most important honors a film can receive. Shyamalan is also one of the most widely recognized Indians in America not just from his movies, but from his classic American Express commercial that ran a few years back.
Wolfgang Puck, the Austrian immigrant who re-invented pizza and is one of the country's most famous celebrity chefs, is today's honoree. I've eaten at many Puck restaurants and have had some great meals. The squash soup at his restaurant in Orlando is one of my favorites. And to think he started his American career as a chef for an Indiana bank. As soon as I'm off this damn diet I can't wait to feast at another one of his spots. Live, love, eat!
When I was 13 years old, the US was facing one of the most demoralizing periods in the country's history. The Russians had recently invaded Afghanistan and the US, unable to do much about it, decided to boycott the Moscow Olympics. Inflation was soaring and interest rates made buying a home or a car virtually impossible for many. Oil prices were skyrocketing and unemployment was high. President Carter was running for re-election and facing a primary challenge from Senator Kennedy, something rare for a sitting President, but not surprising given the mood of the country.
But the number one story in the news was none of these. It was the hostage crisis in Iran. 52 American employees of the US Embassy in Tehran were held captive by militant university students in the wake of a revolution in that country. The crisis went on day after day (lasting for nearly 15 months). ABC News was devoting so much time to covering the crisis that it rolled out a new news show called America Held Hostage that ran every night at 11:30 eastern time right after the news. The show was hosted by a young news anchor with a very distinctive (and much mimicked) voice. It was British-American Ted Koppel. The show later changed its name to Nightline and when the hostage crisis ended, Nightline went on to become an in depth news show covering a single topic each night. Koppel hosted the show for the next quarter century.
Most Americans would be surprised to learn that Koppel was born in the UK. Koppel's parents were German Jews who sought refuge in England after fleeing the Nazis. Koppel was born in 1940 and moved at the age of 13 to the US with his family. In 1963, Koppel became a US citizen. His broadcast journalism began shortly after that with Koppel becoming a war correspondent in Vietnam and then an ABC News foreign correspondent. His tenure on Nightline is well-known, but many people have not followed Koppel since signing off from that show. He's been writing regular columns for the NY Times, working as a managing editor at the Discover Channel and acting as a commentator on a number of National Public Radio shows. I wish he was on the air more given his tremendous credibility and his excellent interviewing skills. Very few journalists on the air today come close to matching Koppel.
OK, so I've had actresses on two days in a row. Apologies for the lack of variety, but I happened to be watching the very good series Big Love on HBO this evening and the Serbian actress Branka Katic was again on the show. She's playing the Salt Lake City waitress Ana who is a candidate to be the fourth wife in the polygamous family at the center of the show. The true testimony of how diverse America has really become is the fact that probably know one thought there was anything unusual about having a Serbian waitress in the middle of a city once thought of has being pretty bland in its ethnic makeup. I've had a couple of opportunities to visit Salt Lake City in recent years, however, and it has taken on a more cosmopolitan flair in no small measure because of its growing immigrant population. Anyway, back to Ms. Katic. She's only been in the US a few years, but it looks like her career is taking off. And if you're a fan of Big Love, tonight's season finale makes it seem like Branka will be getting a lot of screen time next season.
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.