Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Merry Christmas, Mr. President-Elect, Ya Filthy Animal!

Two movies that have become Christmas traditions are the first two HOME ALONE movies, starring McCauley Caulkin as Kevin McAllister, a resourceful young boy who has this peculiar habit of being left behind on Christmas family vacations. The movie I would like to discuss is HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK (1992). As the movie opens, our Chicago-based hero is about to leave the Windy City for Christmas holiday in (OF ALL PLACES!) Miami with his family. His dad trusts him with his flight bag which includes his credit cards and a lot of cash, but as the plane begins to leave O'Hare International, Kev gets left behind and makes a mad dash for a plane which, like the one his folks and siblings are on, is American Airlines, but UNLIKE the McAllister family plane, is BOUND FOR NEW YORK! Recalling a coattail (a promotional consideration ad) for The Plaza, "New York's Most Exciting Hotel Experience!", he reserves a suite using Dad's credit card and creates the illusion that Dad is in town for a convention. Suffice it to say that Kev goes on to meet up again with the "Wet Bandits" (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) from the first movie, have a beautiful encounter with a bird woman (Brenda Fricker) who tells him of her love for Carnegie Hall, and get a present from a kindly old toymaker played by Eddie Bracken, but he also has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it meeting with the then-owner of the Plaza, a certain Mr. Donald John Trump who gives him directions. IRL (or, In Real Life for the social media challenged), the Donald bought the Plaza in 1988 and installed his wife Ivana as Chief Operating Officer, but in November of the year HOME ALONE 2 was released, he sold half of the hotel to a banking group led by Citibank as a prepackaged bankruptcy. With this bankruptcy, and so many other bankruptcies on his permanent record, it begs the question: How can he run the country successfully if he can't run a business successfully? I AM going to give him a chance for the first one hundred days, but still.

The highlight of HOME ALONE 2 happens when the hotel staff finds out Kevin has paid for his hotel room with a stolen credit card and the family flies to New York to set things right. Kevin has taped the sequel to his favorite (spoof) gangster movie, "Angels With Filthier Souls," and, with the help of his trusty Talkboy, (a tape recorder created by John Hughes and Tiger Electronics for the movie before it was made available to the general public), orders the ready-to-evict-him staff to kneel down and tell him they love him. They comply, and his tape recorder says, "I believe you...BUT MY TOMMY GUN DON'T! YOU BETTER GET YOUR CARCASS OUT OF HERE BEFORE I COUNT TO THREE! ONE...TWO...(BUDDA-BUDDA-BUDDA) THREE! MERRY CHRISTMAS, YA FILTHY ANIMAL!"

That last line could definitely apply to our PEOTUS. I'm sorry if I'm offending of my friends who voted for him, but anyone who boasts of his sexual conquests, insults important trading partners,criticizes everybody from Alec Baldwin to NBC's Hallie (or, as he calls her, Haley) Jackson (no relation to Michael, who called Trump Tower home), AND violates a sacred trust with China, deserves to be called a filthy animal. As he would say, "Believe it."

In a break with a longstanding Steve's Blog holiday tradition (See Naughty Lists for 2013, '14 and '15.) I'm going to cut to the chase and name Donald J. Trump the Naughtiest Newsmaker of 2016.

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal! (BANG-BANG-BANG) And a Happy New Year! (HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK, rated PG, is available from Amazon, Hulu and Netflix and also is scheduled to air on AMC and certain other national networks during the holiday season.)

Steve out!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Steve's Post-Thanksgiving Leftovers

ARE YOU SURE YOUR REAL NAME ISN'T BENEDICT ARNOLD?

Michael Che, who co-anchors SNL's Weekend Update, says Trump may be right about what the iconic comedy show says about him in an upcoming issue of GQ. Michael, fellow Rangers fan and comedy god, I love you and respect your opinion, but I'm worried your boss Lorne Michaels might use Don's famous catchphrase on you.

RIGHT GAME, WRONG TEAM

Last time, I told all CFL fans in Readerland to put the ranch on the Ottawa Red Blacks over the Edmonton Eskimos at the 104th Grey Cup presented by Shaw. Their correct opponent is the CALGARY STAMPEDERS! My sincerest apologies to the League and both teams involved. (And my apologies to Esky fans for giving you false hopes!)

HAPPY BLACK FRIDAY TO ALL...

and to all a good holiday weekend.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Steve's Pre-Thanksgiving All-You-Can-Eat Blog Buffet

PARTY-POOPER IN CHIEF

I thought Donald Trump was going to be a kinder, gentler President when I heard him saying nice things about Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney. Shows you how wrong a guy can be! He has ALSO said some not-so-nice things about HAMILTON: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL (after the cast politely asked his Veep, Mike Pence, to rethink the administration's platform on issues that affect the cast and certain members of their audience) and Alec "How-Can-I-Possibly-Stay-Away?" Baldwin's impersonation of him on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. (Grow a sense of humor, dude!) As you keep saying, you are about to become President of ALL the people, and one of the major things the job entails is keeping freedom of speech alive, and THAT includes trying to, AT LEAST, mildly chuckle at people who try to make fun of you. I admit, I DID want to choke the life out of people who made fun of me in high school, but (A) that was high school and (B) I wasn't the Commander-Of-Chief of the United States of America and the man people around the world look to for guidance. The bottom line is this: Don, I trust you and want you to succeed (except when it comes to building a wall and keeping people out on religious grounds), but PLEASE, stop being such a grouch! (I LOVED Joe Pesci's portrayal of a real estate mogul named Donald Grump on a SESAME STREET Christmas special. He told Oscar, "This looks like the beginning of a rotten relationship."

LET THE GOOD TIMES TROLL!

Times like this just SCREAM for a feel-good movie like TROLLS (PG), from DreamWorks Animation and inspired by the classic Good Luck Troll dolls. Anna Kendrick is lovable as Princess Poppy, the leader of the Trolls who always sees the glass half-full and is always ready to party, and Justin Timberlake gives her a great straight man, I mean, straight TROLL, in Branch, a Troll who doesn't think life is all "cupcakes and rainbows" and (Horror of horrors!) CAN'T SING! In this movie, the Trolls have nothing better to do than sing and dance until they're discovered by the Bergins, large ogres who are never truly happy unless they eat a Troll, or so goes the legend. Twenty years after the Trolls' great escape from the Bergins, Branch warns Poppy that the loud noise from their celebration will attract the Bergins...and, unfortunately, IT DOES! I'm not going to give the story away, but I WILL tell you that J.T., in his capacity as Executive Music Producer, has lined up a lot of great music to tell the story, from Earth,Wind and Fire's "September" and the peppy original song "Get Back Up Again" to Simon and Garfunkel's moving "The Sound of Silence" and two more tearjerkers, Lionel Richie's "Hello" and Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors," and TROLLS, produced by  a company founded by Disney exiles, is the closest thing this company, DreamWorks, has come to a great Disney movie that simultaneously warms the heart and tickles the funny bone at once. If I only had enough money to buy either a ticket to TROLLS or a sandwich, I'd CERTAINLY get the ticket! (I WOULD get a TROLLS Happy Meal IF my trainer and my Jenny Craig consultant let me, but I don't want to get back the ten pounds I have so carefully lost. Oh well!) TROLLS may not solve all of today's problems, but it will certainly help you forget them for a while.

STEVIE THE GEEK'S PEERLESS PREDICTION FOR GREY CUP 104 IN TORONTO, ONTARIO

Take the Ottawa Red Blacks and the points over the Edmonton Eskimos! (I may not have any immediate plans to move to Canada no matter WHO won the election, but the Cup IS one of the sports world's greatest spectaculars no matter where you live!)

WHY I HAVEN'T WRITTEN A COUNTRY BLOG LATELY

I still love country music, but the only country fans I know who voted for Hillary are Dixie Chicks fans, and I don't want to alienate those fans who go around wearing those red ball caps! I WILL give out the Stevie Awards for Awesomeness in Country Music at the end of the year! Promise!

IF YOU WANT SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR...

...be thankful you're not a turkey!

I HAVE TWO WORDS FOR YOU READERS:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bye, Buckaroos!
Steve

Friday, November 11, 2016

What If?

My name is Uatu, and I am The Watcher, the last of a line of supremely intelligent beings, sworn never to interfere in the occurences on other planets after a tragic accident. For eons I have observed the events not only in your universe, but in myriad alternate universes, and one event that has especially piqued my interest has been the recent campaign for the office of President of the United States that began when Donald John Trump, an outspoken real estate magnate and former television personality, announced his candidacy after making a few racist comments concerning the people of Mexico, continued when he frustrated and stymied the other Republican contenders, and reached its climax when he challenged, and ultimately defeated, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the wife of a former Democratic president and, at various points, a Senator representing the State of New York and the Secretary of State of the United States. From my vantage point on the Blue Area of the Moon, I often ponder what would happen if things didn't turn out the way they eventually did in your reality. What would happen had Clinton won the Presidency is a tale for another time, but, today, I present to you the case of one Steven Long Eisenpreis, who, for three years, has written a series of web logs, or "blogs," as they are more commonly known, on topics from current events to the world of sport. When Eisenpreis visited the city of Philadelphia, known as the Cradle of Liberty because it is where the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed, he chanced to encounter an article of clothing that proclaimed, "MOVING TO CANADA! SEE YOU IN FOUR YEARS!" As Trump was a complete blowhard with no political experience, or so he thought, Eisenpreis was fascinated with the idea of moving should he win, and why not? Although America was where he was born and lived, Canada was also dedicated to the same ideas of freedom, a concept he was worried Trump would undermine. To make a long story short, Trump defeated Clinton in a surprise upset, but Eisenpreis changed his mind and decided to remain in America because his friends and the people and things he loved were there and there were many things about America that were better than Canada. But, dear friends, I submit the question, What would happen had Eisenpreis left the Stars and Stripes for the Maple Leaf in an attempt to escape possible tragedy?

WHAT IF...Steve Moved To Canada?  with apologies to Stan Lee who created the Watcher and Roy Thomas who gave him a home in Marvel's WHAT IF?


Steve's First Canadian Blog

HELLO WORLD! BONJOUR MONDE! Welcome to the very first ever Steve's Blog from the Dominion of Canada. I am speaking to you almost live from my palatial estate right across the street from the beautiful Rogers Centre in Toronto, the home of the Blue Jays and Argonauts, and the first retractable roof stadium in North America. Boy, it's a good thing I escaped that hosehead Trump, eh?
I have the pleasure of following a whole lot of excellent expatriates to the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), among them Katy Perry, Madonna, Cher, (She originally planned to move to Jupiter, but that wasn't on NASA's immediate to-do list.) Miley Cyrus, (Will she create a new alter ego named Hannah Manitoba?)and a living legend in her own right, Brooklyn's loss, Canada's gain, Barbra Streisand, ready to join such "Canajan" music superstars as Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Anne Murray,  Nickelback, and the one and only, late great Leonard Cohen. (Imagine all THAT talent on the stage at Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts!) And the country that gave the world Rich Little, Wayne and Shuster, SCTV, the Royal Canadian Air Farce, the Kids in the Hall, and other comedy legends (including this dude named Lorne Michaels who started a live comedy show that goes on every Saturday night, uh, what's it called?) has become the home of Jon Stewart and Amy Schumer, and I hope the True North, with its reputation for tolerance, is ready for Rev. Al Sharpton! New York may have Broadway, but Tronna has Mirvish Alley, named for Honest Ed Mirvish, the dollar store king, who saved the Royal Alexander Theater from the wrecking ball. Yeah, I know, "Give my regards to Mirvish Alley" doesn't have the same ring, but the Royal Alex, Princess of Wales, and Ford Theaters all have the same star power! Before I continue, I would like to send a shout-out to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who now resides in New Zealand. If it gets too cold here, I might swing over to Pearson International Airport and take Air NZ over to your neighbourhood so we can play catch up! Another shout out goes to my fellow comic fans in the Big Apple. You may have all those Avengers and Justice League dudes, but WE have our very own super guy, Captain Canuck, who's been protecting Canada since 1975 under the creative aegis of Mr. Richard Comely, and X-Men artist John Byrne, a transplanted Brit, who gave us Alpha Flight, Canada's ambassadors to the Marvel Universe. Oh, the immigration process isn't exactly a cakewalk, and I feel some remorse rooting for the Leafs when they play the Rangers, the Jays when they take on the Yanks, or the Raptors when they play the Knicks, but, hey, I'd rather have a Prime Minister like Justin Trudeau than a President like Trump any day. Small price to pay, eh? And no, wise guys, the 90's did NOT wait till 1997 to come to Canada (As HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER claimed in the episode "Slap Bet") and yes, we ARE a real country, (Take that, SOUTH PARK!) and we've got some very talented people here! Matter of fact, I have an audition with TSN (The Sports Network, the Canadian ESPN affiliate) for the position of sideline reporter on Jays telecasts, so, I gotta bid you all adieu, but stop by soon and we'll warm up some bacon for you, eh?


G'day! (I know, it's better known as an Aussie phrase, but Doug and Bob used to say it all the time!)
Steve


What the Eisenpreis of this reality failed to take into account was the fact that Americans have never been known to back away from a fight, even if it concerns a man of dubious integrity such as the one they have just elected, as well as the probability of a new Prime Minister of similarly questionable integrity. Where would Eisenpreis go then? Would America welcome him back with open arms? That is also a story for another time. Fortunately, the Eisenpreis of your reality realizes that all he knows and loves is in America, which may not be perfect, but is, in the eyes of many, the greatest country on Earth. I, the Watcher, leave you with this admonition: Donald Trump IS the democratically elected President of the United States of America and deserves a chance. Will he prove worthy of the legacy of Washington, Kennedy and Lincoln? All I can do, all ANYONE can do is wait...and watch.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Strange As It Seems, This Movie Is Just What The Doctor Ordered!

Millenials, you may find this hard to believe, but there WAS a time when nobody watched TV, super hero movies weren't the million dollar extravaganzas we know today, and people heard Superman and The Lone Ranger on the radio. A Washington Heights, New York boy named Stanley Martin Lieber grew up in that era, and his special favorite was a show called "Chandu The Magician," or, as it was introduced, "CHANDUUUUUUUUUUUU, THE MAGICIAN!" before a loud GONNNNNNG! sounded.The creation of Harry Earnshaw and Raymond Morgan, Chandu, originally an American named Frank Chandler,  learned secrets of black magic from a yogi in India and pledged to use those secrets for the good of mankind. Although Chandu all but disappeared from the pop culture radar, he stayed in young Lieber's mind, even when he grew up to become Stan Lee, the creator of groundbreaking Marvel Comics characters The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Mighty Thor. Having created four heroes who were JUST LIKE US, a misunderstood man-monster, a web-slinging super-teen, and an invalid doctor who tapped a walking stick to become the living embodiment of the Asgardian God of Thunder, Stan decided the only thing he could do for an encore was a hero who used magic to protect mankind, and that hero was DOCTOR STRANGE: MASTER OF THE MYSTIC ARTS. Steve Ditko may have taken credit for the look and spirit of the character,but the direction and feel of the series is all Stan. Like Chandu, Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange was an American who traveled to Asia and discovered how to control magic, but he was also a gifted neurosurgeon who was more interested in wealth and power than helping people purely for the sake of helping. He lost the use of his hands in an automobile accident and, in a quest to restore his abilities, found the Ancient One, then the Sorcerer Supreme. His pupil Mordo sought to inherit that title, but even he, the fount of all magical knowledge, could not understand Mordo's desire to kill the Ancient One and assume the mantle.After defeating Mordo in a magical battle, Strange impressed the Ancient One enough to inherit the mantle, complete with the Eye of Agomotto, a talisman that looked like an eye and could "see" all, and a Cloak of Levitation.

If you think all that would make one kick-butt movie, you're right! That movie ALMOST happened in 1978 as a CBS movie of the week, but  that movie HAS happened as MARVEL STUDIOS' DOCTOR STRANGE. Benedict Cumberbatch ("Sherlock") plays Doc as a devotee of the finer things and pop culture junkie who not only loses the use of his hands but also the affections of Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). He hears of a paraplegic who gets the magic power to walk again, and meets up with not only the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Mordo (Chlewtel Ejiofor), but also his manservant Wong (Benedict Wong) and Kaciellus (Mads Mikkelsen), a rival Master of the Mystic Arts. The mind-blowing special effects are best enjoyed at IMAX theaters, (Go to http://www.imax.com for the one nearest you.) and the Michael Giacchino (RATATOUILLE) score is as magical as the visual end of the ledger, but if you think you're going to miss the kind of classic rock staples that made GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and other Marvel movies treats for the ear as well as the eye, nothing can be further from the truth as jazz-funk superstars Earth Wind and Fire and symphonic jazz genius Chuck Mangione ("Land of Make Believe," "Chase The Clouds Away," "Give It All You've Got," and the song that appears in this movie, "Feels So Good"), among others, are represented. Telling you too much about the movie would spoil the magic, but it's safe to say that after seeing this, you'll never look at New York, London, or Hong Kong QUITE the same way again!

If I was down to my last and could only choose between DOCTOR STRANGE and a sandwich, I'd mix myself an ice-cold Meta Appetite Control and then sit back, relax, and enjoy all the Marvelously Strange magic. By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, MISS IT NOT! That's MY prescription!

Steve

Friday, September 23, 2016

She's A Pitch! I'm A-Love-Her!

Longtime readers of this blog may recall that I'm a HUGE fan of Nickelodeon's sports-com BELLA AND THE BULLDOGS starring Brec Bassinger as Bella "Awesome" Dawson, a cheerleader at Silverado Middle School who gets promoted to starting quarterback. Just as BELLA shattered the glass ceiling with a forward pass-full of great entertainment and important life lessons, so has another jockette cracked it with her pandemonius pachydermic percussion PITCH. Say hello to Ginny Baker, the first female pitcher for the San Diego Padres, as personified by rising young star Kylie Bunbury who comes from an athletic family herself and she certainly shows it. (Running it is Dan, his last name Fogelman, who also ran a show called GAL-A-VANT! If you want to hear the COMPLETE theme song, click over to abc.com and search "Galavant." BUT I digress.) Mark-Paul Gosselar from SAVED BY THE BELL is her manager, Mike Lawson, Ali Larter from HEROES is her agent, Amelia Slater, Mark "Mr. Kelly Ripa: Consuelos is the team's owner, Oscar Arguello, and many actual Major League Baseball superstars and FOX Sports superstars (Colin Cowherd, Katie Nolan, Joe Buck, John Smoltz, and Clarissa Thompson) serve as the Greek chorus chronicling the action. Unlike BELLA, the show tackles very adult topics such as sexism and child abuse, and look forward for members of the Fifth Estate (the electronic media to you) to ask Ginny for her opinion on major topics in what may be a very timely episode. First PITCH is every Thursday on FOX at 8:59/7:59 central, and it knocks it right out of the park, or, as Ms. Dawson would say, "SHA-BOOYAH!" When you're not taking yourself out to the ballgame, bring yourself to watch this homerun of a show!

Play Ball!
Steve

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

An Open Letter To Tony Schwartz

Dear Sir:

I would like to congratulate you for coming forth and telling it like it really is about The Donald. I believe he is one of the factors that is keeping me from becoming a published author. I enjoy "Media: The Second God" and your other books, because you are one of the few published authors who aren't afraid to tell the truth, warts and all, unlike the celebrity so-called authors (The Donald included) and overrated authors who live to serve the New York Times Best Seller List and not Main Street, USA. It's time to break the European- and British-owned publishers' stranglehold on the American book industry, and I would appreciate your support, moral in particular, for a new movement I am starting called WAR, or, Writers Against Rejection. WAR will be comprised of writers who prefer not to write books for THEM, the Publishers of Europe and Britain, but for WE, the People of the United States. To paraphrase our, um, friend, our mission will be two-fold: To Make America Read Again, and to Make American Literature Great Again. Contrary to what they tell you at the 92nd Street Y, writing is not baseball. It's football and we keep getting tackled no matter how often we try to make it to the goal line. One of our projects will be to petition our representatives (and, eventually, Hillary) to pass legislation that would force the PEB to spin off their American subsidiaries, criminalize rejection, (except, for example, the ISIS equivalent of "Mein Kampf," if they're twisted enough to write such a book) treat the murder of iconic heroes such as Captain America and Superman as if they were actual people by imprisoning the responsible editors, and changing the phrase "self-publishing" to "assisted publishing" when it concerns divisions of publishing companies that specialize in publishing books for a fee (and lowering said fees to prices that people can actually afford).

Once again, I congratulate you on your honesty and courage, and I anticipate your response.

As for myself, I have been blogging since 2013, and I currently keep five blogs (Steve's Book Blog, http://www.steveonbooks.blogspot.com) , A Steve's Blog Special Presentation (http://www.stevesspecialblog.blogspot.com)Welcome to Steve Country (http://www.welcometostevecountry.com), and In The Ring With Steve (http://www.intheringwithsteve.blogspot.com) as well as the blog you are currently reading. I believe Blogspot has given me more freedom than any book publisher, I have written about sports, music, pop culture, and current events with, IMHO, more intelligence than a lot of the current books on the market,  I have a few celebrity fans (country singer Brandy Clark and DJ Scott Shannon, for example) and my blogs have been read in more than 20 countries including Iran and Cuba. I am telling this because you have a right to know about the author who anticipates your support in the war on Big Book. To reiterate, I look forward to your response.


Yours truly,
Steven Eisenpreis