Saturday, November 21, 2015

153 MISS The Hunger Games:Mockingjay, Part 2, And The Odds Will Be In Your Favor

Anybody knows me that I respect movies too much to want to SMASH the director in the nose and HIT the entire cast where the sun don't shine, but that's how I felt about the two and a half hours I'll never get back called THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 2. (And don't DARE edit this to say I thought it was a SMASH HIT!)

It was too loud, too pretentious, too incoherent to be taken seriously. Jennifer Lawrence is free forever of Katniss Everdeen, the Girl On Fire, the superstar turned rebel, and I can't say I blame her if she's, to borrow a line from Donna Fargo, an all-but forgotten country star of the 70's (Check out our sister blog, WELCOME TO STEVE COUNTRY, for a preview of must-see country TV. PLUG!) the happiest girl in the whole USA. Julianne Moore plays a rebel leader who recruits Katniss and her buds to rub out President Snow. (Donald Sutherland, who MUST miss the days when he had better parts.) SPOILER ALERT: Both the rebel president and Snowman get offed by Katniss. I understand why Sara Stewart of the New York Post gave this sorry excuse for a movie a scathing indictment.

If I were down to my last and I could buy either a ticket to MOCKINGJAY or a sandwich, I'd buy a turkey dinner with all the trimmings! (I know, it's a little bit convoluted, but then, so's this movie!)

See you before the Thanksgiving holiday, buckaroos and buckarettes!

Steve out!

Friday, November 20, 2015

152 Happy Birthday, Elmo!

We interrupt the current 24 hour news cycle to bring you a belated birthday greeting

Elmo Monster first giggled his way into our hearts on November 18,1985 on SESAME STREET. He is both the most beloved and the most controversial of the Muppet Monsters in that his first mouthpiece, Kevin Clash,resigned in 2012 after charges of pedophilia,his habit of referring himself in the third person may promote improper grammar, and his regular features, ELMO'S WORLD and ELMO: THE MUSICAL reduce appearances from the more traditional Sesame Street Muppets. Add to that the Times Square Elmos who have been charged with shaking down tourists for tips, and you may think that Elmo (or as an early incarnation was called in the 1970's, Baby Monster) should be told how to get AWAY FROM Sesame Street... AND FAST.

But, no matter how much controversy swirls around his fuzzy red head, Elmo is still emblematic of the child within all of us, always learning, with a unique spin on the world and a positive outlook.

He's starred in two movies (CINDER-ELMO with Keri Russell as the Princess and ELMO'S ADVENTURES IN GROUCHLAND with Vanessa Williams and Mandy Patinkin, among others), appeared on TODAY, ROSIE, ELLEN and other shows, recorded ELMOPALOOZA for Sesame Street Records (with guests such as Steven Tyler from Aerosmith) and appeared at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA (where yours truly had the pleasure to take a picture with him and even tickled him) and inspired whole lines of toys, (He even recorded a PSA for New York taxis!) but through it all, he remains excited, happy, and a welcome presence, especially in light of recent news events.

Happy Birthday, Elmo! Long may you giggle and give US the giggles!

Elmo...I mean, STEVE out!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

151 The Paris Attack

On November 13,2015, the deadliest attacks since the Second Great War and the deadliest in the European Union since 2004 occurred in Paris and Saint-Denis, France. They came a day after the assassination of ISIS member Jihadi John and are reported by various outlets to be an ISIS retaliation for France's participation in the War On Terror.

France has been on high alert since the Charlie Hebdo and delicatessen attacks. No particular institution or monument was targeted. ISIS targeted an American rock concert and a friendly match between France and Germany's soccer (football) teams and a neighborhood known for its busy night life because of all three countries and their attempts to destroy and degrade ISIS.

Is this an attack on humanity, as US President Barack Obama said, or is it strictly an attack on Europe? Whatever the reason, this cowardly act of terrorism will not go unavenged. As noted in our sister blog, WELCOME TO STEVE COUNTRY, I was there when Al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center, and while I don't exactly wholeheartedly agree with candidate Donald Trump's language when answering a reporter's question on ISIS, THEY NEED TO BE STOPPED. FOREVER!

In the meantime, let's continue to pray for our troops, and also pray for the people of Paris, as they strive to again become the vibrant City of Light they have always been.


Steve out!

See you during the work week!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

150 The Old Order Changeth...

WOW! Is it our sesquicentennial already? I would like to thank you all for your support for these past two years, and the warm reception for our brand new country blog Welcome To Steve Country, (  over most of this same internet) but I've also heard complaints that I've been throwing too many blogs your way.

News flash: I HEAR YOU!

In answer to popular demand: the new schedule for the Steve's Blog family.

STEVE'S BLOG will come your way twice during the work week and once during the weekend.

You'll get a warm WELCOME TO STEVE COUNTRY once during the work week and once during the weekend.

The following blogs will appear occasionally, and don't worry, I don't mean "occasionally every day!"


Hope this new schedule is to your liking, and I hope you stay with us, 'cause we've got goodies comin' out the yin-yang! Over in STEVE COUNTRY we'll countdown the Top 10 Holiday Hits during the Thanksgiving weekend and at year's end, we'll hand out the First Annual Stevie Awards for Awesomeness in Country Music! (No, we're not going to order 100 statuettes, we're going to send links to the site to the Twitter handles of our winning stars. It's kinda like the Marvel Comics No-Prize, only better!) And wait till you see who gets our Lifetime Achievement Award! Don't worry, STEVE'S BLOG fans, we'll still count down the Top 10 Naughties and Nice Guys and Girls of the Year in December! As for STEVE'S BOOK BLOG. we got a review of Stan Lee's AMAZING FANTASTIC INCREDIBLE coming up, and we know you'll find it all of the above!

(By the way, when news breaks out, we'll break in, so consider yourself warned and informed.)

We thank you for your support, and although Shakespeare once said, "We'll strive to please you every day," hope you don't mind if we please you ALMOST every day!

Steve out!

P.S.: On November 18, STEVE COUNTRY will review Radio Disney Country and tell you if it's the best station for your little Mouseketeers and Princesses!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

149 Good Grief! Even Better PEANUTS MOVIE!

Although, technically, it's not the first movie ever based on Charles M. Schulz' beloved Peanuts characters, Blue Sky's THE PEANUTS MOVIE BY SCHULZ is, without question, the very best. For the first time ever, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Linus, and, of course, Snoopy, run, dance, tumble, and fly over motion picture screens around the world in beautiful CGI animation. Other critics complain this movie is so loyal to the original Peanuts strip it loses touch with the modern world. To be honest, THIS critic wouldn't have it any other way.

As the movie begins, our hero has bungled, bumbled, and generally messed up for, what he hopes will be the last time when a moving van pulls up across the street, and out comes The Little Red-Haired Girl, voiced to perfection by Francesca Capaldi. Speaking of which, the charm of the Peanuts TV specials has always been that the characters have always been voiced by actual kids as opposed to adults trying to sound like kids, such as Janet Waldo as Pebbles Flintstone or Julie McWhirter Dees as Sassette, Smurfette's "kid sister." The only voice that has been around since the beginning has been producer Bill Melendez as Snoopy, the star of a movie-within-a-movie in which he battles his perennial nemesis, the bloody Red Baron, and this time, he has a love interest, a cute poodle named Fifi, with vocal effects provided by the Wicked cute Kristin Chenoweth. Of course, it wouldn't be a Peanuts movie without the classic Vince Garuldaldi score made even better by new music from Christophe Beck and a new song ("Better While I'm Dancing") from Meghan Trainor.

Will Charlie Brown finally kick the football to the moon? Will he finally fly a kite? Will he finally pitch a winning game? Will he win the heart of the Red-Haired Girl? Will Marcie stop calling Peppermint Patty "Sir?" Will you see THE PEANUTS MOVIE to find out the answer to these and many other burning questions? Good grief, I hope so! (Also worth the admisssion: an original short starring Scrat from ICE AGE.)

If I was down to my last money and I had to choose between a ticket between THE PEANUTS MOVIE and a sandwich, I'd take PEANUTS. It's WAAAAAAAAY butter!

Over in our new blog, Welcome to Steve Country, celebrate our great country and the accomplishments of our veterans with a countdown of the Top 11 Patriotic Country Songs.

Steve out!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

148 Goodbye, Mutts and Good Riddance!

Remember when I re-wrote "I'm A Believer" to tell the world I love the Mets and I couldn't leave them if I tried?

Well, I didn't have to try very hard. They made leaving VERY easy when they lost Game 4 of the World Series to the Kansas City Royals. In case you missed Sunday night's fiasco, Matt "Dark Knight" Harvey had pitched eight solid innings of shutout baseball when manager Sandy Alderson tried to take the ball from him and tell him gently he did a great job and he could rest. Against his better judgement, Matt decided on one more inning before kissing the Mets 2-0 lead goodbye. The Royals tied it up and then tacked on five extra runs, thus writing a tragic end to the Flushing Avengers' dream season.

I know, I know, I just congratulated them on a job well done, but you know what? The Mets have NOT made a loyal fan out of me!  Au contraire, the Mets have embarrassed this otherwise great city by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory  and totally ruining what could have been the greatest dramatic performance off Broadway.Next year, I'll be back at the House That Ruth Built on 161st Street and River Avenue in The Bronx, New York, cheering on baseball's original class act, the NEW YORK YANKEES! I can't wait to see the Bronx Bombers continue their hunt for their 28th World Championship, and I hope the Mutts, I mean the Mets, get a hole-in-one on the golf course!


Steve out!

147 "When I Make A Mistake, It's A Beaut!"-Yogi Berra

If this blog begins to remind you of MTV in its early years, it's because, as I told a selected few readers,I thought radio personality Rick Dees' 1984 parody of  tearjerking 1970's ballads, "Eat My Shorts," summed up my feelings for the New York Mets after they disappointed me and my fellow New Yorkers by losing the World Series to the Kansas City Royals 3-1.

Unfortunately, two people I really love, Dear Old Mom (Bettijane Eisenpreis) and a guy who used to LOVE to play that song before he changed stations and became a "kinder, gentler DJ", I refer to Scott Shannon, aren't very, as the Donald would say, "HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE" fans of that song, which Mom considers undignified.

In retrospect, that wasn't one of my best decisions, in fact, it borders on cyber-bullying. I would like to apologize to all those I have offended, and to the Mets themselves, and congratulate them, and the Royals, on winning their respective championships, and the Royals on becoming champions of the baseball world.

As for why I posted the official music video for "Goodbye To You" by Patty Smyth and her 80's group Scandal, I believe it conveys similar emotions to "Eat My Shorts," but in a less offensive manner. (I noticed I picked up a lot of views around the world for "Shorts." I leave you to draw your own conclusions about the world's taste in comedy.)

Sometimes I fear we've become too politically correct. (And I repeat the words of Raven, a character from DC Entertainment's TEEN TITANS GO!, a comedy-centric reboot of TEEN TITANS, a series which also featured serious episodes, "Yeah, have a laugh every once in a while!") I thought what was funny in the 80's would retain its comic value, but apparently, I was wrong. The joke was on me.

Although this remains STEVE'S Blog, STEVE's platform, STEVE's soapbox, (Thanks for the inspiration, Stan!) and the place where STEVE can share STEVE's views. STEVE, I mean, I promise to maintain the high quality of this blog and not stoop to the level of people such as Howard Stern. (Unfortunately, I used to put that guy on a pedestal! WHAT was I thinking?!?)

Two people who, tragically are no longer with us, talk show king Johnny Carson and New York late night jockette Allison Steele "The Nightbird" each used to say, "If I said what I'm thinking right now, this place would be a parking lot!" I think "Steve's Parking Lot" doesn't have that oomph I'm looking for. I apologize to you, my loyal readers, and, of course, the New York Mets, and I promise, I won't say what I'm thinking when I'm thinking something so tasteless. (BTW, I DON'T apologize to Screen Media Ventures, Inc. for my last blog. SO THERE!)

NEXT: My thoughts on the series, edited so as not to further tread on any feelings.

Steve out!