"Nice Game Pretty Boy!"

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"You're Dead, Messier! We're Gonna Get You, Messier!"

Congratulations to the Carolina Hurricanes on winning the Stanley Cup Championship in a 3-1 Game 7 triumph over the Edmonton Oilers. While most people I know who were following (or attempting to follow) the Stanley Cup Playoffs were supporting Edmonton's bid to bring the Cup back across the Canadian border for the first time since 1993 (when the Montreal Canadians defeated Wayne Gretsky's LA Kings), I had adopted the Hurricanes as my favorite playoff team, and was glad to see them ultimately prevail. Due to a hectic work schedule (sorry for the light blogging) and a birthday dinner, I was unable to catch most of the game, but I did see the 'Canes hold onto their 2-0 lead through the third period and add an insurance goal with just over a minute left in the game.

Even without a thrilling finish, the game was far more exciting than the NBA debacle that occurred Sunday night. Not only did Game 5 not end until after 12:30 a.m. EDT (with the game being played in Miami on the East Coast, very considerate of your fans, David Stern), but thanks to the NBA rules permitting teams nearly unlimited times out in the 4th quarter and officiating designed to guarantee the best players at least 20 gift free throws on their home court, the last 2 minutes of each of regulation and the OT were excruciating to sit through. Forget everything I wrote about being interested in the NBA again. I won't suffer through another minute of the farce known as "The Finals." Nope, for me, the rest of the summer will be about the Mets, Team USA's bid to advance in the World Cup and preparing for the 2006 Gator Football season.

Anyway, I can bitch about the NBA in another post. Congratulations are in order for the newly minted hockey fans of the Carolinas and the old and probably embittered fans of the Hartford Whalers. Kudos are also in order for Rod Brind'Amour, Glen Wesley, Doug Weight and Ray Whitney, each winning their first cup after many seasons and playoff runs, left unfulfilled. Finally, special mention goes out to defenseman Brad Hedican (pictured, with his family and Lord Stanley's Cup), an American NHL veteran winning his first cup, who, in addition to having a name that sounds eerily similar to Kramer's favorite scotch, is now able to hold his head high at the breakfast table in his house with wife, Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi (this also being a pop culture blog, I thought it appropriate to single out the Hurricanes' player with the wife most likely to appear on the pages of Us Weekly). Mrs. Bookie was particularly inspired by the couple, who are practically living in the story book world of one of her favorite movies, the 1980's chick flick (and random cable channel staple), The Cutting Edge. Finally, congratulations to the NHL for finally putting the pieces back together and putting on the 2006 season. I understand that the ratings are as low as ever, and that's too bad. I told them they should have fixed the draft lottery for the Rangers, but nobody would listen. Where's David Stern and his frozen envelopes when you need him?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

"No, Jerry--That's Thirty-Seven Points! The Knicks Covered! You Won! See, That's a Cooool-G, Daddy-O--Now You Gotta Let it Riiide!"

I have to admit it--Last night, I finally caved and watched some of the NBA Finals. Actually, I was up reveling in the Mets' 9-7 victory over Philadelphia (which was punctuated by some timely strikeouts by Billy Wagner and an awesome defensive play by David Wright--good, good stuff), and I wandered over to ABC-HD to see if the Mavs-Heat tilt merited any attention. Anyone who knows me knows that these days, my level of interest in the NBA ranks somewhere between tracking the leading money-winners of the LPGA and finding out whether 7th Heaven will return for one more season on the new CW Television Network. However, because I keep hearing about how great this year's playoffs have been (mostly from local radio personalities and The Sports Guy on ESPN.com), and because live basketball looks so damn nice on my 42" flat screen high definition TV (though nothing looked quite as nice as the Gators' demolition of UCLA for the 2006 NCAA Basketball Championship--I really have to start working that into more posts), I decided last night to check out the Finals. Sitting on the couch with my laptop, I watched most of the fourth quarter, in which the Heat stormed back from a 13-point deficit to defeat the Mavericks 98-86. It was actually pretty riveting, and I stayed up until 12:15 a.m. watching Dwyane Wade put on a show and refuse to let Miami lose the game, scoring 12 points in the quarter (he finished with 42) and breaking up a pretty good alley-oop attempt by Dallas with 1 second left to preserve the Miami victory. For some reason, I was pulling hard for the Heat to avoid the sweep and climb back into the series. Maybe it was watching former Gator-center (and Miami native) Udonis Haslem grab rebounds, hustle on defense and sink two key free throws in the biggest game of his life , or maybe I just still dig the Shaq-Fu. In any case, it really is awesome to watch great athletic performances unfold in big moments (for me, there isn't much that will top watching Vince Young almost single-handedly dominate the USC defense and will Texas to a National Championship in the 2006 Rose Bowl). Will I watch the rest of the Finals? I don't know, but I may flip over and catch another 4th quarter (unless, of course, the Mets are playing or there's something good on the CW.)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Jerry, it was a Whirlwind. They Whisked Us Backstage, the Media is Sworming, Champagne is Flowing...Whooo! I Can't Describe How Great it is to Win. "

On a night that featured the Tony Awards, the NBA Finals and the aftermath of the Mets' wonderful 15-2 drubbing of the reeling Arizona Diamondbacks (to complete the 4-game sweep), most people I know were concerned with one thing...the premier of Season 3 of Entourage on HBO. Before we get to Vince's Mom and the premier of Aquaman, a couple of notes on last night's other entertainment.

1. I didn't see a second of the Tony Awards, which is somewhat unusual, as Mrs. Bookie, an avid fan of the theatre, usually commandeers the TV on Tony night to see all her favorite Broadway stars ham it up for their lone TV appearance of the year. Fortunately for me, because we arrived home so late, and because our wedding album finally came in the mail (only 2-1/2 years after the Big Night), the misses was too distracted to care that "Jersey Boys" took the honors for Best Musical and "The History Boys" won Best Play. Yes, in a shocking turn of events, it was a Boys' Nite at the Tony Awards in 2006. One other note--in 1998, I actually attended the Tonies as a summer associate at the law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP. The show itself was uninteresting, but crashing the parties afterwards was a great time. We stayed up all night and watched the sun rise at Liza's (not Minelli). My brother, currently a summer associate at Proskauer, attended last night, and was under strict orders from the Firm (as has every summer associate been since 1999) not to crash any parties. It's good to know that the impact of my summer class is still being felt, lo these many years later.

2. What a week for the Mets! Could this have been the best West Coast road trip in team history? You really can't argue with 6-1. All you can say is on June 12, 2006, t's Great to be a New York Mets fan.

3. As for Entourage--pretty good episode, picking up where we left off last season.

A) My first gripe, as always is about Turtle piming all this Yankees clothing. Last night we see him in his usual Yankees cap, but accessorizing with a "Welcome Johnny Damon" t-shirt. Vince and the boys are allegedly from Queens! What are there, like 3 Yankees fans in all of Queens?? I know that the Yankees gear definitely jibes with Turtle's whole "Wigger" but still. It upsets me every time I watch this show.

B) It will definitely be interesting to see Ari try to maintain his tough-guy persona while working out of some low-rent quarters (where he literally gives away quarters) without the usual LA creature comforts of parking and elevator service. It was also nice to find out that Ari married well, his wife prying funds from her family trust fund in order to keep Ari's fledgling agency afloat.

C) Great cameo by James Woods, one of my all-time favorite actors/cool guys. You all can keep George Clooney. I'll take Woods and his gun-toting, poker playing, bimbo-banging style any day of the week. Sure, Jimmy was a little over-the-top, and his messing with Drama on the red carpet was hardly a fitting revenge for the boys' poaching his tickets to the Aquaman premier. However, it's still great to see that Jimmy can have some fun with his image as a Hollywood player (I especially loved when he helped himself to a handful quarters on Lloyds desk).

D) I was concerned that if Aquaman is too big a hit, the show will lose some of the fun we have with Vince being a celebrity, but not a Bragelina-sized phenomenon. Of course, we don't want our hero to flop in his first big film either. From what I read in the review by Entertainment Weekly (giving the show an A-), the writers do a nice job dealing with the situation.

Okay, I'm off to see whether Team USA can dig itself out of a 2-0 hole against the Czecks (which, I guess is something like being down 9-0 in the 6th inning of a baseball game). Any thoughts and feelings are welcome.

Friday, June 09, 2006

"I Got: You Enter, You Go 'Hi', and I Go, 'Hello.' Now.. We Need Something Here.."

Like the writers of the much balleyhooed Pilot, I have been suffering from a bit of writer's bloc, which explains the lack of posts this week. There just wasn't enough in the Stanely Cup Finals, the Mets' weeklong West Coast Odyssey, my friends' newborns (or, for that matter, celebrity newborns) to inspire an entire post this week. With a trip to the East End on the horizon (Southampton's Cooper Beach is pictured) and things heating up at work, I am searching desperately for a muse to inspire my, ahem, creative juices, to flow again. In the meantime, (i) I may have started a debate on journalistic integrity in the comments section at The Metropolitans (actually, Mr. Met started it, but I attempted to fan the flames), (ii) Toasted Joe is out of town, (iii) the World Cup starts (actually started) today in Germany, (iv) you can check out Newsday's website and scroll down for an entire photo album devoted to Neptunes, a beach club in the Hamptons frequented by men with, uh, "enhanced" phisiques and the women who love them, (v) if cheesey Island clubs aren't your thing, enjoy some photos of half-naked hipsters partying it up somewhere Downtown, or (vi) click this link for a McDonald's commercial from the 1980's featuring a pre-Costanza Jason Alexander (I do miss the McDLT). With the new cable modem hooked up at the Beach House, hopefully, I will have something releveant to say this weekend that I can pass along.

Monday, June 05, 2006

"You've Gotta See the Baby!!"

***Update--Regarding the discussion of The Sopranos, here is an entry by Larry from ThisIsWhatWeDoNow, who is apparently in the Toasty Joe camp, showing some love to this past season of the show and to this past Sunday's "finale."

This past weekend brought us a lot of rain, some excruciating Mets games and, little bundles of joy. First, as announced here on NGBP last week, we welcomed the Skipper's son, Noah Scott (pictured here) to the world on May 31. In between comforting his wife through post-natal trauma and shilling for the newly released Jennifer Anniston-Vince Vaughn vehicle, The Break-Up (screenplay co-written by the Skipper's cousin and close, personal friend Jeremy Garelick), the Skipper brought young Noah home from the hospital to begin his journey through life under the unfortunate circumstances of being from New Jersey and (we presume) a Yankees fan. Nonetheless, he is a cute kid, and from everything I've seen, he has a large, loving family, so I have no doubt Noah will turn out okay. (Also special thanks for setting me up with a nice, easy quote for the title of this post).

Speaking of babies, I also had the pleasure of hosting some close friends of mine and their infant son at the Hamptons House this weekend. Thanks to the never-ending rain, I got to enjoy hours of fun inside the house, a significant portion of which involved me watching the new mommy strap on some bizarre apparatus and pump breast milk into plastic containers for future consumption by the young tyke. If I was already frightened about the prospect of someday becoming a father, then I am now positively terrified. Nonetheless, I am as optimistic for young Max's future as I am for Noah, except that as a future Mets fan, Max can look forward to a life of venting frustration on talk radio and Mets weblogs. Welcome to the fun!

In other weekend news, The Sopranos ended (or, more accurately, susp-ended) its season with a pretty good, if discomforting episode involving (another) mob boss ailing in a hospital bed, (more) infidelity and heroine addiction for Christopher and (for the first time ever) some responsibility and maturity from A.J. I'm sure the film buffs like my brother will say this episode was a masterpiece, but I have to say that I was really uncomfortable sitting there watching Christopher and Juliana Margolis nod off on the yam yam. What's even more tragic is that the couple's swan dive off the wagon and attendant downward spiral of smack usage was a chain reaction set off by one brief indulgence in Juliana's herbal cough remedy. In any case, with the onset of the Summer, we can say good bye to Tony and the boys from North Jersey and a hearty "Hello" to Vince, Drama, Turtle and the crew from Hollywood. I hear a trip to Vegas is on this Summer's agenda. Victory!!!

Finally, who needs crying babies to keep you up all night when the Mets are playing 6 straight night games on the West Coast? Last night, I watched 7 innings of Alay Soler's 1-run masterpiece. Yes, it was a thing of beauty, but I see a lot of Starbucks in my immediate future. Four days 'till the weekend, people!

Friday, June 02, 2006

"Ha Ha! We Took it to You! You Couldn't Get it Out of Your Zone All Night. We Were Aggressive, We Didn't Let You Penetrate!"

Congratulations to the Carolina Hurricanes on their thrilling 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres in Game 7 of the NHL's Eastern Conference Finals and on reaching their second Stanley Cup Finals in five years. I am not what you would call a "hockey buff" (or, for that matter, a "Civil War Buff", like Keith Hernandez), but I still enjoy the thrillride that is the NHL Playoffs. Of course, with this year's tournament airing way out there on the Outdoor Life Network (over on channel 122 for us Time Warner Cable subscribers), it is easy to forget that the hockey even exists anymore. I used to take in many playoff games, just by checking out ESPN late at night and getting hooked into some random matchup of west coast teams--who could forget that classic first round series between the Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild back in 2003? These days, for me to watch the playoffs, a confluence of events must occur: (i) nothing good is on TV (between Idol and Lost, and of course, the Mets, this has not happened lately), (ii) I remember there is a playoff game on, (iii) my wife doesn't object to me turning on a sport that neither of us knows anything about and (iv) the game is not already a blow-out. Well, notwithstanding the awesome back-to-back-to-back-to-back episodes of The Office on NBC last night (I definitely had to watch some of that), I was interested in watching Game 7 between Carolina and Buffalo. Regardless of our level of interest, there really is nothing like a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. To me, the level of intensity and edge-of-your-seat action is unparalleled. Also, everyone must admit that the Stanley Cup is, by far, the coolest trophy in all of sports--so prized and special that it has its own appointed handlers who accompany it wherever it goes (and it goes a lot of places, with each player on the winning team is entitled to custody of the Cup for one day). Last night's game was especially good, as the game was tied 2-2 going into the third period, and remained that way until Rod Brind'Amour's power play goal put the 'Canes ahead for good. As for the finals, though I have kind of adopted Carolina as my favorite this year, I may have to root for Edmonton, just so the Cup can return to Canada for the first time since Montreal won it all the way back in 1993. It doesn't matter, so long as the series goes 7 games, and I remember where to find it on TV.

Speaking of sports that aren't popular in the US, the 2006 FIFA World Cup begins in Germany one week from today. Even though our own Team USA is currently 5th in the World Rankings, nobody is expecting anything special from the team, and with Italy and the Czeck Republic in our Group, it is reasonably possible we won't advance out of the Group. Still, I look forward to heading to one of those Anglo-centric pubs here in the City, to enjoy a pint of Guinness and be able to cheer on the "real" Yanks overseas. There should be plenty to blog about there.

Finally, I am very excited that the cable modem is being hooked up out East. Now I can download internet porn from the Hamptons!!! Oh, yeah, and blog from out there too. Have a good weekend!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"Well, Sorry I Missed That, Uh, Charity Thing. But This Was One of Those Truly Glorious Hampton Weekends That You Always Hear About."


In the vein of the title of this post, I apologize for waiting almost a week before posting something new. Yes, I was, in fact away during the long weekend at the Summer House we rented in East Hampton. As you probably know, the weather was pretty much perfect, so the weekend went quite smoothly. The only glitch is that we did not have our cable hooked up yet (happening this Friday), so I was unable to catch any of the Mets-Marlins series, and was forced to get scoring updates by listening to the FAN in my car or stopping at The Blue Parrot on the way back from the beach. Still, missing s three-gamer against the worst team in the NL was a small price to pay for a mini-vacation. A few thoughts on a Wednesday afternoon that inexplicably feels like Tuesday (yes, yes, I know, "Tuesday has no feel!" "Monday has a feel." "Friday has a feel.")

1. Some leftover thoughts on the Lost Finale: (a) Mr. Met made a great point in the comments--it's difficult to believe that Walt would just allow Michael to flee after learning of what he did in order to procure their release from Camp Others. Unfortunately, Mr. Met also referred to The Mind of the Married Man as a "pretty good show," so he loses some points there. (b) If, as we discovered, the Button is "for real" and pushing it does prevent catastrphe, then why slow up the world-saving process with requiring the Numbers to be entered before the button is pushed? Why can't they just press "Execute" every 108 minutes? (c) Most people seem convinced that (F)Henry is the leader of the Others. I was actually under the impression that (F)Henry was merely the "ranking officer" (as EW.com put it) on the dock, but that there is still a "Him" out there that he is reporting to (FHenry did refer to a "Him" when Sayid threatened to kill him in the Hatch). I guess we'll see.

2. Very happy to see Lastings Milledge on the Big League club. I had the pleasure of watching him up close and personal in St. Lucie at Spring Training this year. From what I could see, he looked like a star in the making. Of course, I was probably 3-deep into 24 oz. Kirin Ichiban oil-cans, so my scouting acumen may have been somewhat compromised. As others have noted, 'Stings's swing looks professional, though to me, the rest of him still looks like the 21-year-old kid that he is. ,Notwithstanding, 'Stings should provide us fans with hours of summer amusement.

3. Speaking of the Mets, with Mrs. Bookie off to downtown pilates this evening, and Mr. Bookie (me, that is) feeling a little under the weather, I look forward to a relaxing evening of watching Pedro duel it out with Arizona phenom Brandon Webb. Should be a big-time match-up. Maybe for the occasion, Keith Hernandez will even decide to wear something that doesn't look like he slept in it the night before.

4. Back to the beach, for a moment, it really was a great weekend. With the rainy week that preceded, the pool was still a little too cold for any long-term swimming activities (and the ocean was positively freezing), but I still managed to get in the water a little. Thanks to my non-resident parking parmit (only $250 for us City Slickers), we were also able to visit some East Hampton beaches. I felt very big-time to learned that the non-resident permits have sold out, so the rest of the riff raff (yes, we are part of said riff and said raff) will be kept at bay for the duration of the summer. We also checked out a new restaurant/lounge called, appropriately, 27 (the old Napague Stretch in Amagansett) and The Stephen Talkhouse, which now boasts a $25 per person cover on Saturday and (Holiday) Sunday nights. I mean, the band was good and all, but paying $50 before I walk in the door just doesn't seem right to me. Does anyone have a connection or know some guest list I can get on? I'll have more to report as the summer wears on, but for those interested in the latest on life and gossip of the East End, check out a blog called "The Beach" which is brought to you by the same folks who produce Curbed (a NY-centric real estate blog). Hat tip to Mr. Maybe I Can Help, who turned me on to it.

***Update: Congratulations to The Skipper, on the birth of his baby boy, Noah!! We all knew you (literally) had it in you, Skipper! A hearty Mazel Tov from BookieD!