Monday, November 22, 2004

I See Paris, I See France...

So Sunday afternoon, after lunch with my friends Rich and Anne, and their 17 month-old, La Chiquita and I are strolling through SoHo. We stop on Prince Street at an eyeware place, something La Chiquita's been agitating for because a) I'm a four-eyed geek and b) my glasses tend to look like I've chained them to the back of a truck and allowed them to be dragged through a mile's worth of gravel.

The guy behind the counter falls into that category of near-perfect salesmen: focused, friendly, he made you feel like you're the only person in the store. His first suggestion looks great, the next few suggestions went on some interesting tangents, before he locks on what he and my girl agree is a good look.

Anyway, we have his undivided attention until someone steps to the counter right behind me. He quickly turns away and says "Oh, hi Paris!" in a tone of voice that's just a little too enthusiastic.

So I have a sneaking suspicion of what's going on behind me, but there are rules for celebrity-watching in New York. Kind of like the rules for going to the zoo, just slightly different.

Rule one is no gawking, at least not when you run into celebs in the wild. If they're working on a movie or doing a public appearance you can stare at them all you like, but if they're just buying groceries, it's creepy.

Rule two is no "Hey, aren't you that guy from that movie?" If you know who the celebrity is, you can say hello. Asking them who they are is bush-league.

Rule three is that the rules for talking to celebrities are no different than they are for talking to any other stranger. You probably wouldn't interrupt a stranger in public while they're talking on a cell phone, or in between bites of a meal, so it's probably not nice to do that to someone just because you've seen them in the newspaper.

So, rules properly remembered, I simply ignored the young lady behind me, who rattled off a half-dozen brand names at my sales guy, and continued trying on the frames we'd set aside and talking to my girlfriend. Eventually, a slim girl in a green sweatsuit walked into my eyeline, to look at herself in the mirror. She was attractive, but relatively non-descript except for two things 1) she was carrying a small dog in a pouch in her top, which made it look like she was pregnant and 2) she was Paris Hilton.

Not having anything to say really (what were the options? "You and Nicole Richie are some real spoiled broads?" or "I hear you showed some amazing technique in that video?"), we collected the names of the two "finalist" frames, for when I return with my eyeglass prescription, and left the store. On the way out, we passed Paris' bodyguard, a big guy who was perfectly positioned to flatten anyone coming into or out of the store.

NOTES/Week in Review

The baseball silence right now is deafening. The team that's making the biggest moves right now is the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals/Limbo Barnstormers, a team that's technically homeless, ownerless, and directionless. The big moves involve names like Jose Guillen, Cristian Guzman, and -- get this -- Vinny Castilla.

That's quality stuff.

Blogger reaction to this thin time is all over the place. Bronx Banter is talking Thai food, the Futility Infielder is talking torn labrums, and Will Carroll Presents is blinking on and off like the sign at Kenny Rodgers Roasters.

In local news, the Mets extended Kris Benson. The world sleeps more soundly knowing that the Mets have secured a third #4 starter.

In Yankeeland, the big news is more a low grumble about pitching. Pedro visited last week, and the ongoing he said/she said on whether the Yanks offered a contract is what passes for entertainment around these parts. Scott Boras is still on a napoleonic power trip with Carlos Beltran, so there's no news on that front.

I don't see a Curt Schilling Thanksgiving bonanza happening this week.

In the world of hoops, Ron Artest, with a little help from his friends, managed to one-up Frank Francisco in the sports punk Hall of Infamy. Doesn't look too good for Pistons fans, either.

Throughout the years, the fans have gotten farther and farther away from the action at sporting events. Compare Fenway Park to Yankee Stadium, or Shea. Some of it is bad design, a little more of it is safety concerns. Hard foul balls lead to the screens behind the plate, pucks into the stands lead to plexiglass barriers in hockey -- that is, when there is hockey.

Now crazy players are a hazard, on the same level as foul balls and hockey pucks. This Artest incident is just another element that's going to press venues to create more separation between the crowd and the game. I think it'll only be when we're all watching sporting events from behind a moat and a barbed wire fence that the idiots out there -- both on the field and in the stands -- will realize what's being lost, here.

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