Thursday, May 31, 2007

Epic

Wow. Forget about Iverson, LeBron is the Answer to every question. That was the best basketball performance I've ever seen. My favorite thing about it was that every Cleveland possession in the 4th quarter and the overtimes involved LeBron getting the ball at the top of the key and everyone else on the Cavs just getting out of his way. The rest of the Cavs looked they were rec league players who were absolutely TERRIFIED to touch the ball. And then LeBron beat double teams, triple teams, and quadruple teams to drive for dunks, knock down fallaway jumpers, and do whatever else was necessary. Just remarkable.

And now he's sitting at a podium answering questions with pat answers for fat sportswriters in a boring monotone. He should be taunting AG and MJ or something. Sorry guys.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Two balks...in one inning?

As soon as Armando Benitez entered the game, I started booing strongly. But then it dawned on me that maybe I should cheer...Benitez was probably the Mets' best chance to come back. And come back they did. Reyes terrorized Benitez into two balks. Delgado took advantage of the fact that Benitez was rattled, and he jacked one over the right-field fence. One of the most exciting Mets games that I have been to in a long while.

Other comments:

-Tim Lincecum is the real deal. He was throwing in the high 90s effortlessly for 7 innings. And, oh yeah, he's got a dominant curveball too.

-The booing of Bonds was incredible. Just entering the on-deck circle, it was non-stop. And then when he was on base, nothing but chants directed at him. That's gotta grate on a man.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

French Bakery on the Upper Upper East Side

Have you ever been craving a croissant on 106th Street before? Have you ever been on 106th Street (on the East Side) before? If you're like most of my readers (and me once upon a time), you probably answered "no" to both questions (unless you count the school bus to Randall's Island or the car ride to Connecticut). But good news dear readers, you now have a reason to make the trek, because you've gotta check out Samba Bakery. Chef Youssef Samba, who learned his craft under one of the top pastry chefs in all of France, uses nothing but the best ingredients so that his customers eat nothing but the best pastries. The French Brownie that I had was soft and rich, not to mention delicious.

So hop on the subway (or get an event catered) and find out what you've been missing. I can't wait to try the Pain au Chocolat. Also, you can sample some great Mexican food at the taqueria two doors down. And finally, if you're lucky, Lucy (of Death/Media fame) will be working at the bakery that day and maybe she can tell you what is looking particularly fresh.

Samba Bakery is located at 165 East 106th Street (between Lexington and 3rd Avenues).

Monday, May 28, 2007

Fire Island

No Cars = Amazing. We walked (or biked or water taxied) everywhere. We loved it. Check out how much fun we (especially me and my sweatshirt) were having. This was in Ocean Beach, not Cherry Grove...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

At Last

Part of The Delino Krew (me and Dan) is finally ACTUALLY going to Fire Island for the day. Pictures to follow.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Bargaining on Bleecker

I was in a store on Bleecker Street last night when I finally spotted a pair of sunglasses that weren't too wide for my skinny face. There was no price tag, so I assumed that they were negotiable. Furthermore, I took into account the fact that the store was in the process of closing. I figured that bought me another couple of dollars off the price.

Me: How much for the shades?
Store Clerk: $10.
Me (brief pause): How about $5?
Store Clerk: $8.
Me (pause, put down shades, start walking out): Sorry man, I can only do them for $5.

And he let me walk out! This NEVER would have happened in China. Ever. I guess that I've learned my lesson. Next time I should start with a lower initial offer...

Writing this can only lead to...

...me putting my foot in my mouth in a couple weeks, but the winner of the Eastern Conference has a better chance of drafting Greg Oden than of winning the NBA title. The Cavs probably should have won both of the first two ugly games in this series and tonight's non-call on Rip Hamilton against LeBron was simply pathetic (that said, Larry Hughes should have hit the follow up). I mean, Hamilton fouled him in every way except for giving him a shove to the floor. What an embarrassing display by the officials. There is no doubt that Michael Jordan (or Dwyane Wade) would have gotten that call...correctly. Furthermore, if Detroit can barely beat the Cavs, what hope do they have against San Antonio? None.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Brief talk of the footie

A frustrating Champions League final. Milan 2-Liverpool 1. Liverpool were clearly the better team on this day, but poor finishing and poor crosses did them in. They have no one to blame but themselves. It was still an impressive Champions League campaign, but it should have ended in glory. A few remarks (if you don't follow this stuff, you can probably stop reading):

1. What the hell was Bolo Zenden doing on the pitch? At all. Let alone for 60 minutes. He was absolutely awful and definitely cost Liverpool a few good chances at goal. Zenden was coming bak for injury and has been terrible all season. Rafa Benitez is normally an astute team selector, but this was simply inexplicable.

2. Wasn't Inzaghi's first goal a hand ball? Maybe I'm wrong on the rules, but I'm not wrong in saying that he clearly redirected the ball into the net with his arm. Shouldn't someone have at least explained this?

3. It was nice to see Jermaine Pennant with acres of space on the right side throughout the first half, but there were two problems: he kept on putting in bad crosses; and he had no one to cross to...which leads to:

4. Where was Peter Crouch? I suppose I can understand excluding him from the starting lineup and seeing how the game goes, but once Liverpool were down and Zenden was clearly useless and Pennant had run out of ideas, how could Benitez not have brought Crouch on earlier? He waited until the 78th minute! I was simply shocked. Crouch may be ungainly at times, but he is always valuable on set pieces and he was clearly a much greater goal threat than almost everyone else on the pitch.

5. Javier Mascherano was fantastic. So was Daniel Agger. The problem (as has been the case many times in recent years) was that Liverpool simply have major trouble scoring goals. Their defense is generally excellent, but they desperately need to sign a top-class striker this summer.

That is all for now.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More AKS

First, check out a response to the AKS editorial (make sure to read the AKS response to the response in the comments).

Then, take a trip down memory lane with a look at the mother of all campaign web sites, as AKS makes his first promise to "fight for you, the students" at Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School. Make sure to read each link on the sidebar or you might miss:

Other Reasons To Contact Me
You can also e-mail me to tell me that you would like to join my Campaign Committee, be in or help produce a television campaign commercial, or help put up campaign posters. If you do, I'll be your best friend (in the Student Council).

Note the e-mail address: aks4y2k@aol.com. And he was doing television commercials?

A huge tip of my hat to Dan for finding this stuff...and a strong wag of my finger at the rest of you for not coming up with anything.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

AKS

He's back in a big way. Apparently there's been some serious controversy over a law school election down at William and Mary. AKS has been disobeying election rules I believe...Here's what AKS had to say about the "Dishonest Honor Council" fiasco (make sure to read the comments). And more importantly, check out this campaign video of AKS "raising the bar":



Huge tip of the hat to Lester on this one.

And for more information, don't forget to check out AKS's personal web site.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Brilliant Juxtaposition

Check out the end of the title of Jeremy's most recent blog post. Then look at the Google ad to the right of it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

En francais

Chers lecteurs, j'ai ecrit beaucoup (5 ou 6) de nouvelles revisions de restaurant. Essayez de les trouver.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's all in the game

It's been said before and it will be said again: The Wire is a brilliant television show. I just finished watching season 1 and I feel fortunate to know that I will get to watch the next three seasons as quickly as Netflix can send them to me.

In my mind, the one thing that most sets The Wire apart from other cop shows is that it's not really a cop show, it's more. It's a drama about the city of Baltimore (and the decaying urban ghettos of America) that uses the struggle between cops and criminals to tell its story (I feel like series creator David Simon (who also created the brilliant show Homicide) might have said something to this effect in the audio commentary...). The Wire is unique (as far as I know) in that rather than just giving the viewer an in-depth look at police work, it gives the viewer an in-depth look at the drug scene in the projects. You see how both sides think and you come away understanding the whole situation in a lot more detail. You see numerous parallels in both the hierarchies and the types of people involved on the police side and the drug side. And best of all, the whole show feels incredibly authentic. The street slang is there, the cop slang is there, and the gritty Baltimore streets and projects are there.

Furthermore, the characters on both sides are incredibly compelling. Each episode ends with you dying to know more about them. But as this is a television show, this is also a function of the fantastic acting and writing of course. Most of the performances are wonderful, with Dominic West (Jimmy McNulty), Larry Gilliard Jr. (D'Angelo Barksdale), Sonja Sohn (Kima Greggs), Michael K. Williams (Omar), Andre Royo (Bubs), and Idris Elba (Stringer Bell) really standing out in my mind (Fine, everyone's amazing). In addition to the acting and writing, I love the music, both in the opening and closing credits. I dare you to listen to "Way Down in the Hole" just once.

Basically what I'm saying is that you have to watch The Wire. Now. I can't believe that I waited so long.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I know I have a problem...

...but I can't help but get a little pissed off when they pronounce "Cheng" as "ChAng" on 24. China scholars, am I wrong? Shouldn't it sound like "ChUng"??

Another Sad Discovery

It appears that Fusion Crepes is no longer in business. On the plus side, their awning is still out there...

Fusion Crepes [125 Bowery (at Grand St.) 212-966-2266]
It's a crepe stand with an Asian twist...and funny names for most of the crepes. All the usuals are there, but if you're in the mood for a meal, I strongly recommend the savory Duck crepe. It consists of roast duck, scallions, sliced cucumber, and oyster sauce. It is essentially like Peking Duck. It is delicious and it costs $5.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Night Watchmen

The Bergers (and Haines) were at it again this Saturday for another round of family fun and adventure. The setting this time was the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the occasion was a night of "Murder at the Met." Seemingly inspired by The Da Vinci Code, the purpose of this hunt was to find out who murdered the assistant curator of the Met (the night before the unveiling of a new $45 million Rembrandt painting) and why. There were 24 clues hidden around the museum in different galleries. A typical clue would tell you which gallery to go and then hint at what piece of art to examine. The rest was up to you. We had two hours.

At 5:45 PM we set off from the Great Hall to hunt down the answer to our first clue (#22). At 6:05 PM we were finally convinced that every possible route to our destination was closed (which was true), so after my mom considered asking for a refund, we decided to start from the beginning with clue #1. About three clues in, I began to get pretty competitive, as is my wont. So in each gallery, after I figured out where to look for the clue, I would move away from that piece of art as quickly as possible so that if another team walked by, they wouldn't know where to look right away. I got my parents involved in this as well and one time I had to scold my mother for looking at the back of a statue where a clue was hidden. Pathetic, I know. I can't imagine what the regular museum visitors were thinking.

Anyway, in spite of our initial 20 minute detour, we managed to find the answers to every clue that wasn't in a closed gallery and solve the case with time to spare. When it came time to reveal the answers, we knew that we were in with a perfect score. But was anyone else? Yes.

Two other teams also scored the maximum, so it was down to a tiebreaker. In what year was the board game Clue originally published? Whichever team was closest to the correct year would be the winner. Luckily my dad remembered seeing the game as a child, so we had a good ballpark estimate right away. After a little deliberation we guessed 1949. The other teams guessed 1958 and 1971. And the answer was.....1948 (my dad's original guess)!

I had finally realized my lifelong dream of winning a scavenger hunt with my parents:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

R(estaurant). I. P.

Another one bites the dust. Luckily this was not one of my better reviews, so I am not too sad to see it go...

Shaan [57 W. 48th St. (bet. 5th and 6th Aves.) 212-977-8400]
This high-quality midtown joint is tasty and authentic. Guaranteed to fill you up while not lightening your wallet too much, I would recommend the Lamb Pasanda.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Take that...me!

A response to the Dan Berger Instructional Video. This stuff is simply priceless:

Friday, May 11, 2007

Subway Hero Aftermath

No, I'm not talking about smelling like Provolone Cheese. Here's a nice article from New York magazine on what happens when a regular guy suddenly becomes famous. New York has really had a renaissance in the past year or two, coming up with stories that people (like me) really want to read. I would say that there is at least one (often two or three) compelling feature-length piece every week. And most importantly, the articles focus on New York-centric topics like the "High Line" or the extent of gentrification as the L train meanders through Brooklyn. This is stuff that you don't really find elsewhere.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blog Party

I never posted anything about this wonderful event back in March. So here goes:

Quote of the night (from Finnegan): "If you are not lifting, you might as well be dead."

Go here to see pictures.

The plan is to have another party in July with some new blood even. Sound good?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pictures of China

After the flood of comments from when I posted a preview to my pictures, I'm afraid that I might crash Google's servers this time, but that's a risk I'm willing to take. Here, finally, is a photographic recap of my trip to China. Don't worry, there are less than 500 pictures up there.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Good Soldier

I just got out of Spider-Man 3 with my good buddy George W. Bush. He loved that shit:

George: Hey Rich, you got a phone number for that Sandman guy?
Me: He's just a character George, he doesn't really exist.
George: Well I don't care what he is, we need to get him out to Iraq pronto. With the infinite sand out there, he'll be unstoppable.

(As discussed with Dan.)

(Am I the only one who often types "Iraw" instead of "Iraq"?...I think not)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Warming Up

The boys and I took in a taping of The Colbert Report this afternoon and we had a blast. Check out the outside of the studio:

Colbert was brilliant as usual, blah blah blah. He is simply a masterful comic performer of both scripted and improvised material. However, as fun as it was to finally see the show in person after so many episodes on TV, it was nothing quite like the warm-up act. If you've ever been to the taping of a television show, you know what these guys are like. If not, the guy's basic shtick (although apparently he was not the normal guy here) was to take the most obvious attribute of an audience member (e.g. being black) and use that to "comic" effect. Here's an actual example:

Warm-up Guy: Oh, look, I finally got the black girl to laugh. What's your name honey?
"Black Girl" (she was actually South Asian): I'm not a black girl!
Warm-up Guy: What is that, a rap name?

He later moved onto more "Jewy" targets...meaning us. It all started when Tom refused to clap for the umpteenth time when we were asked if we were "ready for more show."

Warm-up Guy (looking at Tom): Hey, you up there, Cory from Boy Meets World, what's the deal? Clap it up a bit.
(Tom feigns indifference)
Warm-up Guy: What's your name? What do you do for a living?
Tom (with no energy): Tom. I work in IT.
Warm-up Guy: Oooh, Information Technology, your parents must be very proud of you. Are you always so subdued? And what about your friends over there? Smiley (that was me) on your left can't seem to close his mouth for a second, and that kid in the glasses...stand up for a minute (Dan stands). Look everybody, we've got Jeff Goldblum here. What do you do?
Dan: I'm Dan and I'm a paralegal.
Warm-up Guy: Looks like we got a cripple over here, eh guys? (One or two laughs) Come on, that's a great joke! Paralegal sounds like paraplegic...

For the rest of the time until the show (at least 10 minutes), Warm-up Guy would reference Tom every third joke. "Hey Tom, is that good enough for you? You wanna crack a smile this time?" This culminated in him naming our row the "Bored Tom who doesn't laugh row," a quip that got a laugh out of Tom. I'm thinking of inviting the guy to the next Bloggers Party.

(As a side note, he also said something about everyone in our row being bald because one man actually was...BA, you are the expert, Dan, Tom, and I are ok, right??)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Apres le deluge...

...there will be more of a deluge. Here is the first wave of my photos from China. These pictures are from Beijing and Xi'an. The rest of the pictures will be added to this same album soon.