Monday, July 10, 2017

201 KEVIN KLEIN RETIRES!

I know what you're about to say: "HEY, STUPID, HOW CAN HE RETIRE WHEN HE'S DOING EVERYTHING FROM "PRESENT LAUGHTER" ON BROADWAY TO "DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" TO "BOB'S BURGERS" ON FOX? DOES A HUMAN ENERGIZER BUNNY LIKE THAT LOOK LIKE A CANDIDATE FOR AN AARP CARD?"

First of all, don't call me Stupid, second of all, I didn't say Kevin Delaney K-L-I-N-E, America's greatest Shakespearean actor, husband of Phoebe Cates and proud papa of Owen and Greta was hanging it up any time soon, and third, and most important of all, Kevin R. K-L-E-I-N, a current New York Ranger (defenseman, to be exact) and former Nashville Predator, is the one who's calling it a career after 13 years on the ice at the advanced age of...32.

Although actors are also athletes in their own way, K-L-I-N-E's L-I-N-E of work is less taxing than Kevin the Younger's, but K-L-E-I-N has sacrificed more for his art than Kevin the Elder, suffering from back spasms (2016-17), and even losing part of his ear in combat. (At least Mike Tyson didn't have him for dinner!)

I can't honestly blame Kevin the Younger for saying goodbye when he did. He's already led a full life playing for the Predators in both the show and on the farm team (Milwaukee)  from 2004 until his trade to New York for Michael del Zotto and racking up an impressive total of 627 points, but athletes are, sadly, only human, and not as invincible as Superman or Wonder Woman.

We wish Kevin K-L-E-I-N all the best in his second act, but we would be remiss if we didn't wish Kevin K-L-I-N-E much continued success. Both guys have been doing a great job and should keep up the incredible work. Do I have to spell it out for you?

C-YA!
Steve

Friday, July 7, 2017

200 STEVE'S BLOG-CENTENNIAL

Four years ago, my fellow New York Ranger fan Nicole Vranzanian loved my little email observations on the NHL, pop culture, and life in general so much, she suggested I write a blog. Who am I to disappoint a fellow long-suffering devotee of the Broadway Blueshirts? And so Steve's Blog was born, and although I may not seize EVERY opportunity to take keyboard in paw and communicate with my faithful followers in more than twenty countries and territories, this little old blog shows no signs of slowing down. Thank you, Nick for suggesting this little project and all you fans worldwide for your continued support. The world can't stop us, it can only hope to contain us, so buckle your seat belts and hold onto something heavy, we may be 200 blogs old, but we're just getting started!

HOW I SPENT MY VACATION

The last time I visited Upstate New York, (I mean way the HECK Upstate!) I stayed in Albany and spent a few hours in Cooperstown, the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and, according to legend, the place where soldier Abner Doubleday invented the modern game in 1839 (Actually, the modern rules were drawn up by the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in NYC a few years earlier.) The HOF was definitely the highlight of my all-too-short visit to the Coop,and despite a rousing concert by none other than Paul McCartney at the Times Union Center and a visit to a museum founded by none other than George  Washington, Albany wasn't exactly the bustling metropolitan area I expected. I decided the next time I visited the Capital Region, I would either (A) pitch my tent at a more luxurious hotel, preferably downtown, than the Motel 6 the hotel site recommended, or (B) bypass Albany altogether and bed down in C-Town. Lucky for me I chose (B) this past Fourth of July weekend! Not only did I see the HOF again, but I also saw the Fenimore Art Museum (and a special exhibition of ice-skating-related art collected by the legendary Dick Button), the Legends of Baseball Wax Museum (and Hard Ball Cafe, the Coop's ONLY outdoor bar and grill), the Village Library of Cooperstown (Home to a LOT of great sports books, including ESPN's Sal Palantonio's "How Football Explains America" and, OF COURSE, George Will's "Men at Work," one of the best baseball books of all time),and one of the best beaches in New York State, as well as a veritable plethora of sports collectibles stores, including Yaztremski Sports, where I found a yearbook from the minor league Charlotte O's. I didn't find any player I know from "the Show," as the farm team players call the Big Leagues, but I DID learn that the team was owned by the family of legendary wrestling promoter (and member of WWE rival the National Wrestling Alliance) Jim Crockett, and one of the announcers was wrestling color commentator Tony Schiavone (Although a lot of his paisans pronounce it "Ski-A-Voanny,", he prefers "Sha-vonny." Guess he thinks a lot of rasslin fans don't capeesh Italian!)  Another thing I found about Cooperstown is that although it IS proud to be a small town, it has more in common with the Big Apple than Albany! If you want to find out more about C-Town, and there's ALWAYS more, log on to http://www,iloveny.com . PLAY BALL!

FINALLY...

My sincerest condolences to the family of the police officer murdered in cold blood on July 5th. She died as she lived, protecting the city she loved, and that will always love her back.

BYE, BUCKAROOS...

...and here's to the next 200!
Steve

Friday, June 30, 2017

Steve's Declaration of Independence...from Phil Jackson and (Soon.Please!) Donald J. Trump

I've always believed that Manhattan's major houses of worship are Congregation Emanu-El, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and Madison Square Garden. Granted, Emanu-El and St. Pat's aren't 100% pure, but when James Dolan, the CEO of the World's Otherwise Most Perfect Arena, makes a mistake, it makes any gaffe the other two institutions make, and they have made a lot, seem miniscule by comparison. When Philip Douglas Jackson returned to the New York Knickerbockers, a team that drafted him in 1957 and to whom he gave some of the best years of his basketball life, he brought a new optimism, restored the Triangle Offense which had become a Knicks trademark during his tenure as a player, especially during the 1969-70 championship season (He had to sit the championship out.), hired his friend from the Los Angeles Lakers, head coach Derek Fisher, and traded Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler to the Dallas Mavericks for Jose Calderon and Shane Larkin among others. Two of the brightest stars under his aegis were veteran Carmelo Anthony and Latvian Kristaps Porzingas. Despite all his wheeling and dealing, the Knicks have yet to return to the NBA Finals, and, as you can probably understand, New York fans, the toughest in the world, were, to put it mildly, slightly less than satisfied. (For a nationally televised game against the Golden State Warriors just this past season, the Knicks decided to put all in-game entertainment, such as the Knicks City Dancers, the opening light show, organist Ray Castoldi, and contests and promotions on hold until the second half, thus putting the focus on pure basketball. This minimalist approach may have worked for one of Disney's special live productions for autistic kids, and kudos to them for that, but it only evoked one response from REAL Knicks fans, not the fairweather fans, but the ones who REPRESENT, and that response was...

"YAWN!")

On June 28,2017, Jackson and the Knicks mutually agreed to part ways.

STEVE'S STATEMENT:


BYE, PHIL-ICIA! Don't let the MSG executive suite door hit you on the way out!

I wish that idiot we happened to let be  President of the United States were also on his way out. When Louisiana congressman Steve Scalise was injured by a madman during a baseball practice, The Donald called for cooler heads to prevail, but the VERY NEXT DAY, he was up to his old tricks. The less said about his attack on MSNBC's MORNING JOE the better, (It will be addressed in depth in the VERY near future.) but this could be the beginning of the end. Trump has said a LOT of things in his life, but the two things I want him to say the most are "BUH-BYE!" and "You want fries with that shake, sir?"

May the FOURTH be with you, and let's remember all those Great Americans who promised to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States...and delivered!

Keep it red, white and blue, Buckaroos!
Steve




Monday, June 19, 2017

197 Don't Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

As we go to press, the Staten Island Yankees, the Minor League affiliates of the 28-Time World Champion New York Yankees, have declared their opening night game against the Mets' satellite team, the Brooklyn Cyclones, a rain-out, although it still looks pretty good to me! What would Babe, Lou, Reggie, Catfish, Thurman, Joe D,Derek, and all those who have been proud to wear the pinstriped uniform and the interlocking N-Y baseball cap, think about this unprecedented, and I must say, WIMPY turn of events?!? Suppose the night turns out to be nice and this is all much ado about VERRRRRRRRY little?!?!? If George Steinbrenner were alive today, he'd throw his cigar to the ground and order them to play until they were completely waterlogged. To quote Judge Judy Sheindlin, " don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining!" (Slightly diluted for a family audience.) Rain, shmain, Yankees and Cyclones, LET'S PLAY BALL!

Steve's Blog-Centennial is coming soon! Don't miss it....BE THERE!
Steve

Thursday, June 15, 2017

"My Fathers chair" by Rick Springfield

196 Super-Size Me!

There's so much to talk about in this episode that I have to SUPER-SIZE it, so fasten your seat belts and hold onto your hats, folks, 'cause HERE. WE. GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


FAREWELL TO THE BAT

This past weekend, leukemia succeeded where the Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Scarecrow have failed... IT KILLED THE BATMAN. Actually, it killed the best known interpreter of the Caped Crusader, William West Anderson, or, as he was better known, Adam West. Born on September 19,1928 in Walla Walla, WA, Adam began acting professionally in the 50's and gained renown for his appearances on TV shows from SUGARFOOT and BEWITCHED to PERRY MASON and BOURBON STREET BEAT
and in movies from The Three Stooges' last feature film THE OUTLAWS IS COMING to GERONIMO and THE YOUNG PHILADELPHIANS. After producer William Dozier saw Adam in a Nestle Quik commercial (as Bondesque spy Captain Q) he immediately cast him as Batman and the Masked Manhunter's  millionaire playboy alter ego, Bruce Wayne, beating out Lyle Waggoner. Despite a shaky professional relationship with his on-air sidekick Burt Ward (Robin/Dick Grayson),the show became a major "Battraction" and after its initial run from 1966 to 1968 on ABC, it cemented its place in pop culture. I had the pleasure to talk to Adam personally at the Comic Art Convention at the Madison Square Garden Exposition Center in 2000 and 2002 and the Big Apple Comic Con a few years later, (I reminded him I saw him at the Garden and, his eyes lighting up like a Christmas tree, asked, "DID I OPEN FOR SPRINGSTEEN?" before attempting to sing "Born To Run." I cried not because it was a beautiful song, but because it was a beautiful song UNTIL HE MURDERED IT!) He remained active in movies (He was mad, and understandably so, at Tim Burton for rejecting him for the 1989 Bat-movie which ultimately starred Michael Keaton.) and television (Not only as the voice of the Dark Knight, who, he said, was more of a Light Knight, but also as the voice of Mayor Adam West on FAMILY GUY, the Ferret on Disney's KIM POSSIBLE, Young Mermaidman on Nick's SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, the Gray Ghost in BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, diverse characters in Disney's CHICKEN LITTLE and MEET THE ROBINSONS,and even Catman on Nick's FAIRLY ODDPARENTS.) through the new millennium, and even engaged in a mock battle with wrestling superstar Jerry "The King" Lawler (who sketched a beautiful portrait of Adam in the cowl which I had the pleasure to obtain at Comic-Con New York last year). He leaves behind four children from two different marriages, and a Batcave full of memories. No matter how turbulent times get, no matter how often our way of life is challenged, whether internally or externally, new generations will always tune in to see Adam West wearing the costume of the world's greatest super hero detective, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

WHAT'S HAPPENED TO U.S.?

One example of how turbulent times have been getting is the shooting at what was originally supposed to be a light-hearted baseball practice in Alexandria, VA on June 14. James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old home inspection business owner from Belleville, IL, who was disappointed with the 2016 Presidential election results, opened fire on GOP lawmakers practicing for a charity event and wounded many, including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise. Hodgkinson was shot and killed by police officers who President Trump congratulated for their bravery despite their own injuries. The game will go on, but, as the saying goes, there is no I in "TEAM." Despite our disagreements, and there are many, we are the UNITED States of America, and an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. Our best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to those in hospital, and our condolences go out to the families of those who died.

THE WONDER OF IT ALL

In times like these, we really need a hero, and while Batman, or at least the best-known portrayer of Batman, is no longer with us, we have a hero in his Justice League team-mate, Diana, princess of Themyscira, or, as she is better known, WONDER WOMAN. The just-released DC/Warner Bros. adaptation of the adventures of the Amazing Amazon (and the first super hero movie directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins), is a welcome departure from what has become the norm. Whereas Batman (in the comics) isn't Batman because he loves being Batman but is Batman because he IS Batman, Diana LOVES being Wonder Woman, champion of the Amazons of Paradise Island, determined to eliminate war from Man's World. (Although THIS man supports kicking ISIS' butt, and I mean the terror group, not the WW knockoff from the 70's, I don't think that's a bad idea!) Gal Gadot, a former Miss Israel and Israeli soldier, continues the tradition Lynda Carter (an advisor to the movie, along with the family of Wondy's creator, Dr. William Moulton Marston and people who have guided her destiny in the comics, including Lively Len Wein and George "Pacesetter" Perez) started on 70's TV by infusing a comic book favorite with humanity, passion, and warmth. Other stellar performers include Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta,Queen of the Amazons and Diana's mother, Robin Wright as Antiope, Diana's trainer and Lyta's top general, and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, the man whose plane crash-landed on Paradise Island and who introduced Diana to the ways of mortals. This is the rare super hero movie for those who love and hate super hero movies, and Allan Heinberg, a comics fan who has written for both page (Marvel's YOUNG AVENGERS) and screen (GREY'S ANATOMY), gives the original Lady Di the respect she deserves. WONDER if I would pick a sandwich over this WOMAN if I only had a few bucks to my name? AS IF!


NOT EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED, BUT THANKS ANYWAY...

...New York Racing Association for a 149th Belmont Stakes that didn't (Triple) Crown a champion or feature any winners from the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes. I picked Irish War Cry (not just because he was the favorite, but because of what Seth Meyers calls HIS favorite Irish war cry: "WHADDYA MEAN YOU'RE OUT OF GUINNESS?!?"), but I'm happy he came in second with Tapwrit coming in first and Patch coming in third. Still looking forward to the Belmont Stars and Stripes Festival on July 9th! (I got a free voucher. Can't beat the price!)

WHEW!

Well, ladies and chaps, that puts the wraps on a VERY jam-packed edition of Ye Olde Blogge, but a few more things before I get out of here...

Happy Father's Day to all the dads we look up to, especially Scott Shannon, Ross Brittain, Todd Pettengill, Joe Nolan, Steve Kingston, Brad Blanks, and those who have departed this mortal coil, such as my maternal Gramps Clinton M. Long, my paternal Gramps Sigmund Eisenpreis, and the man without whom there wouldn't be a Steve's Blog, let alone a Steve, Alfred Eisenpreis, as well as all the dads out there. Stay tuned for a special musical tribute to Dad!

Good luck to my CWPF, Congregation Emanu-El Rabbi Allison Tick-Brill, as she gets ready to join the fam in Chicago. We're keeping the door WIIIIIDE open for you, Ali! Mazels!

Bye, Buckaroos!
Steve

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

195 We're So Sorry, Cynthia McFadden...

...that we confused you with Kelly O'Donnell in our review of SUNDAY NIGHT WITH MEGYN KELLY (Last blog!) That was STILL a compelling interview, and my apologies also go out to Kelly O, as well as Meg and her talented SN staff.(At least WE own up to our mistakes, unlike King Covfefe! Mebbe we should call him Don Covfefleone after James Comey told the world he said, "I need loyalty. I expect loyalty."


STEVE'S BITS


Another reason to look forward to Friday: Temps in the Northeast warm up to where they should be! Put those parkas back in the closet and get those grills out, folks, Summer ain't giving up without a fight!


On Memorial Day, Mets radio commentator Josh Lewin quipped, "If this is Summer, I'm Brad Pitt!" when his colleague Howie Rose reminded him of the cloudy skies and below-normal temps. Well, Brad, tell Angie and the kids you're going to Disney World. because, as I said, Summer is going to be here to stay!

Hey, Warner Bros., are you ever gonna bring back ANIMANIACS? In case you lived in a cave during the 90's, this was a hilarious Saturday morning/weekday afternoon show which aired on FOX and The WB )Now The CW) revolving around Yakko and Wakko Warner and Dot, the Warner Sister, three fun-loving toons from the early pre-Bugs-and-Daffy days of LOONEY TUNES locked in the Warner water tower who escape and wreak havoc on the modern world through sketches and songs,many of them educational (such as "The Presidents Song" and a little ditty to the tune of "Turkey In The Straw" cataloging all the state capitols in the USA), with the help of their own cast of characters (including the stars of the popular PINKY AND THE BRAIN) and a staff of animation veterans helmed by executive producer Steven Spielberg (Yep, THAT Steven Spielberg!), which can currently be seen on Netflix. No victim was spared, no celebrity went uncaricatured, but it was all good, clean, wholesome fun for the whole family. (We could sure use THAT kind of fun THESE days with a looney tunes President like the one we have now!)

If you're stopping by the Big Apple this Summer, check out GULLIVER'S GATE in the Times Square neighborhood (216 West 44th Street, to be exact) and prepare to have your MIND BLOWN. Open every day at 8 AM, the Gate opens on a world in miniature, with beautifully accurate reproductions of London, Tokyo, New England, and other international destinations. (It even pays tribute to its inspiration, the immortal "Gulliver's Travels", with an airport served by Swift Airlines, an obvious tribute to author Jonathan Swift, and let THAT be the only spoiler!) For information, tickets, and links to social media platforms, visit http://www.gulliversgate.com and hashtags #gulliversgate and #miniaturemarvels . It IS a Small World after all, and it never looked better!

That's all the covfefe I have for now, covfefes and covfefettes, but y'all covfefe back now, y'hear?
Steve