Tuesday, March 3, 2015

3.4 WINTER SUCKS!

There. I've said it. I know, I've also said I keep it clean around here, but some times, there are some things that should be said, and this is one of those times and one of those things.

I'm sure I speak for my fellow citizens of the Northeastern United States when I say that I'm tired of the Winter of 2015 and I can't wait for Spring. As a matter of fact, I would like to share some of my plans for the aforesaid Spring and Summer (and some parts of Fall).

ON THE ROAD AGAIN!

This August 6th, my best friend and toughest critic (who happens to be Dear Old Mom) Bettijane L. Eisenpreis hits the Big Eight-Oh, and to celebrate, I will accompany her to Washington State and Vancouver (Canada), where the highlight is Stanley Park, named for the same Lord Stanley who started the practice of awarding a cup to the best professional team in hockey. (I always thought his name WAS Stanley Cup! But that was when I was a COMPLETE hockey newbie!)

Before that is my annual Independence Day vaycay, which has been rescheduled to a four-day long weekend (7-3 to 7-6) so as not to take anything away from our trip in the Pacific Northwest. This year I will be celebrating our country's birthday in one of the cities that made it possible, Boston,MA.
If you've known me a long time, you know I love New York and its teams, many of whom have a hate-hate relationship with the Boston teams, and you may be asking, "Steve, why are you going to the home of the Red Sox, who didn't catch that final out in the 1986 World Series, and the New England Patriots, who will stop at nothing to win?" First of all, that trait worked to their advantage and won them Super Bowl XLIX just as I hoped it would, and second of all,Beantown suffered probably one of its greatest tragedies when it was snowed in this year and I just thought I'd come over and provide a little moral support. After all, this is the first city where Babe Ruth played, the home of Cheers, (NORM!),the home of Gillette Blue Blades, the home of Julia Child, and the home of the musical Zip Code. (Remember the PBS show ZOOM? "Box Three-Five-Oh, Boston, Mass, OH-TWO-ONE-THREE-FOUR!"Oh,to be young again!) And, OF COURSE, there's the Freedom Road where Boston, and American, history come alive. I will be leaving Amtrak's Penn Station on the Third and arriving at South Station before pitching my tent at the beautiful Ames Boston Hotel on Court Street. (I KNOW what you're thinking. Rest assured that I AM saving for the Sixth, which is when I'll pay for my room.) Boston has been through a Depression, two World Wars, an American Revolution, a Marathon tragedy, and a killer blizzard. Such a city could not go unvisited! (And besides, this year marks the fifth anniversary of my trip to nearby Salem, home of the Witch Trials.
When I went there, I was CHARMED by the bewitching history. How can you NOT be under Salem's spell when you visit?)

When the temps cool down a bit, Mom and I will fly off to beautiful San Antonio, and OF COURSE, we will remember the Alamo! (And NOT just the car rental company!)

WHAT IN THE WIDE WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS IS GOIN' ON HERE?

One of the things about Spring I'm looking forward to the most is BASEBALL! Gen Y may be more partial to soccer, but for me, nothing can match the crack of a bat hitting a ball right down Broadway.No matter how much the "geniuses" responsible for the rules try to change the game, it still has a magic all its own. This year, it's going to be strange seeing my beloved Yankees without Derek Jeter, but at least Alex Rodriguez is back, and I'm sure he's serious about turning over a new leaf. Also planning to turn over a new leaf are the they-hope-soon-to-be-amazin'-again Mets. It should be interesting to see how the minor improvements to Citi Field and the major improvements to the Metsies' starting lineup will affect their quest for their first World Series trophy in twenty-nine years!


Not only do I plan on checking out the Yanks and the Mets, but I also intend to take my annual daycation to Long Island for the Belmont Stakes. Perhaps THIS year a Triple Crown Champion will rise? One can only hope! (Of course, I will see the Sawx in a July 4th matinee against the Houston Astros!)

KULCHA, KULCHA, COME AND GETCHER RED HOT KULCHA!

It may not be until May 19th, which just so happens to be  my birthday, but ALREADY I'm excited about seeing Bartlett Sher's new production of THE KING AND I at Lincoln Center! Before that, I'm going to Radio City Music Hall to see THE NEW YORK SPRING SPECTACULAR, starring the Rockettes, DANCING WITH THE STARS' Derek Hough, and Laura Benanti, who may be remembered as the Bunny Mother on the short-lived TV series THE PLAYBOY CLUB. (The NY Spectacular follows in the footsteps of the Music Hall's late great Easter Show. Is it a coinkydink that an Ex-Bunny is one of the headliners of the new show? I DON'T THINK SO!)

I also plan on visiting the Big Apple Comic Con this March 7 at Penn Plaza Pavillion (in the Hotel Pennnsylvania across the street from MSG) and Book Con on May 31st at the Jacob K. Javits Center on 11th Avenue. Perhaps I will find a publisher for my upcoming masterpiece, STEVE's BOOK! (No,it's not going to be a Best-Of-STEVE's BLOG. You can find the best of the blog ON the blog.It's going to be an all-new collection of random observations, which has nothing to do with Random House.)

SPEAKING OF RANDOM OBESERVATIONS...

A final "Ahead Warp Speed!" to Leonard "Mr. Spock" Nimoy as he takes a final voyage to the roost of the Great Bird of the Galaxy. May the memories Live Long And Prosper.

One highlight of the aforementioned Super Bowl was the Toyota commercial when a proud Dad saw his daughter off as she began her tour of duty as a soldier. This past Saturday, this ad was spoofed in an SNL sketch when a nervous, but proud Dad, dropped his daughter, played by 50 Shades star Dakota Johnson, off at the airport, but this time she was welcomed by ISIS terrorists. (The tagline was ISIS:We'll take it from here,Dad!) I think the haters are missing the point. This was not intended to make light of ISIS or recruit for ISIS. This was intended to illustrate the stupidity of ISIS if they think they can provide the love and support disaffected youth need the way their parents or adult caregivers can. Grow a sense of humor, people!

That's it for now from the Frozen North...east, but I will keep you posted of all the warm weather events I have just previewed as soon as they occur, but until then, this is your announcer saying, Stay warm, drive carefully, and...

Bye, Buckaroos!

Steve out!

Monday, January 26, 2015

3.3 Oh,Waiter, Another Order of Crow, With A Side Order of My Words, Please?

It has come to my attention that certain people aren't exactly loving the (admittedly lame) attempt at humor that was SB 3.2 . I HAVE seen proof that what the weather people said is indeed right, so, sing along with me, (You know the melody.)

For he's a really big dummy,
For he's a really big dummy.
For he's a really big DUM-MEEEE!
Which nobody can deny!

I STILL stand by my Super Bowl pick and my review of Bella and the Bulldogs, AND BY THE WAY, if you were thinking of seeing Ridley Scott's "EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS" starring Christian Bale as Moses and John Turturro as the Pharoah, DON'T.

In somewhat related news, ABC's "4-week comedy extravaganza" GALAVANT just ended, and left me VERY disappointed. I was hoping our hero would save the beautiful princess and kill the evil king, but he and His Majesty have apparently joined a band of pirates and the princess, who become as bad as the king was before he fell in with Galavant, has banished his friends to the dungeon. I was kinda hoping he would live happily ever after!

Well, that's it for now, but make sure you have enough to eat and your lights are on!

Bye Buckaroos!
Steve

P.S. I may be Charlie, but with great freedom of speech comes (or, to quote some versions, "there must also come") GREAT RESPONSIBILITY, not the right to be a great big butthead as I was in  SB 3.2!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

3.2 Snow Way This Is Happening!

ATTENTION EVERYBODY IN THE NORTHEAST PREDICTING A BLIZZARD OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS:

Would you PLEASE...

SHUT THE HECK UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's just going to be a few flakes on Tuesday and not Armageddon (or Snowmageddon), so take a chill pill, watch some old movies, count to ten, in short, RELAX!

Other than that, I run a clean ship, so, if you're coming here looking for some jokes about deflated balls, try looking for Howard Stern's blog.

This whole Deflategate thing is another example of much ado about nothing. (Or, as they say in the restroom at the New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theatre, much #2 about nothing, and THAT'S as off-color as I'm going to get.) Why don't we leave the science to the professionals and focus on what's important: FOUR FIFTEEN-MINUTE QUARTERS OF SMASH MOUTH FOOTBALL IN BEAUTIFUL ARIZONA!

Since I think Tom Brady is the closest thing the NFL has to Derek Jeter, (although Jetes himself didn't cheat as much as Brady is alleged to) I have respect for the history of New England, AND I have to admire Bill Bellichek's chutzpah, Stevie the Geek picks the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl 49.

(If your kids are football fans, check out Nickelodeon's new family comedy BELLA AND THE BULLDOGS. Bella Dawson (Bree Bassinger) is a cheerleader of the hapless Silverado High School Bulldogs until the star QB is injured and Coach picks HER of all people to put on the pads. This comedy from a producer of HANNAH MONTANA kicks off Saturdays at 9 PM Eastern, and it scores a touchdown every time!)

Gotta cut this short, but until next time, stay calm, kiss your mom, ban the bomb, do the best you can, remember, God loves you, man!

JE SUIS CHARLIE!
Steve

Thursday, January 1, 2015

3.1 The Resolution Will Not Be Televised...It Will Be Online

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Welcome to the VERY FIRST Steve's Blog of 2015. I hope you enjoyed my little tribute to Casey Kasem in the Nice List (Last blog.) and thank you to all the people who told me you did, but there were also people who wanted a Reader's Digest version of the blog. Well, never let it be said that I don't aim to please. I turned the whole blog into a poem and sent it to the house that DeWitt and Lila (A) Wallace built (Reader's Digest, as if you didn't know) as part of their poetry contest. If they pick it, not only will I be five-hundred dollars richer, (Miami, here I come!) but all of you lucky people will be able to read it in the June issue of the mighty RD, available at better newsstands coast to coast. (It's also available at a few newsstands of questionable reputation, but we won't let that worry us.)

As I hinted last time, Steve's Book is about to be written and (I HOPE!) published. I resolve to you good people gathered here today that I will pitch this tome once completed to every publisher from Anaheim to Zanzibar, but I will NOT abandon the unique style that has endeared this Blog to millions (Sam Millions, my next-door neighbor.) and I WILL continue to tell it like it is and provide you with a book that will entertain and amuse you, and probably educate you if you're not careful.

Speaking of telling it like it is, I'm happy that Taylor Swift has been appointed New York City's Global Welcome Ambassador and I'm happy for her as a person, but since there are musicians who are more New York-centric such as Billy Joel, Jay-Z and Carole King and entertainers who capture the pulse of  the city better such as Jerry Seinfeld, and since Philly-born-Nashville-raised Tay-Tay became an ambassador solely on the strength of a song called "Welcome to New York" which sounds nothing like "New York State of Mind," "Empire State of Mind," or "New York, New York,", I question the City's rationale, and Ms. Swift's ambassadorial credentials. Furthermore, if Swiftie were a REAL New Yorker, she wouldn't have pranced in the middle of Times Square in such a revealing outfit during Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2014 last night. She would know that New York is not exactly the place to wear skimpy outfits in the dead of Winter. As I said, I'm just telling it like I (think it) is.

And so, we close the door on the first of many Steve's Blogs in 2015. We hope you join us on our relentless pursuit of journalistic adequacy. (Hey, I'm nothing if not modest!)

Until the VERY SECOND Steve's Blog of 2015...

Bye,Buckaroos!
Steve

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2.24 SANTA STEVE'S NICE LIST

PREVIOUSLY in Steve's Blog, we counted down the Naughtiest Newsmakers of  2013.

10. THE FILTHY ANIMALS (of Times Square)
9.    BILL diBLASIO
8.    MILEY CYRUS
7.    THE NEW YORK YANKEES
6.     ALL OTHER NEW YORK TEAMS, EXCEPT THE ISLANDERS
5.     HOWARD STERN
4.     MOTHER NATURE
3,     KATHIE LEE GIFFORD
2.     BILL COSBY
and the proud owner of a lump of coal:
ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA (ISIS)

And the countdown continues:

10. SETH MEYERS
9.   JIMMY FALLON

These SNL alums have assumed the hosting chores of LATE NIGHT and THE TONIGHT SHOW with true professionalism. Although they each got their start as Update co-anchors (Seth opposite Amy Poehler and Jimmy opposite Tina Fey), their styles couldn't be more different. Seth's news junkie side informs LATE NIGHT as evidenced by his booking guests such as NBC anchor Brian Williams and New Yorker editor David Remnick, while music fan Jimmy likes jamming with Maroon 5 leader Adam Levine, country star Blake Shelton, and the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. Johnny Carson and Jack Parr would be proud of what these youngsters are doing on their former turf!

8.  JOAN RIVERS

She had just a TOUCH of naughty, but she was a New Yorker who cared about the less fortunate and an inspiration to a new generation of young female comics. Could she talk? Could she ever!

7. BILL deBLASIO

The first newsmaker to make both lists, this time for stepping up to the plate during the Blizzard of 2014, although he DID drop the ball by allowing schools to open.

6. CECILY STRONG

She lived up to her name with her performance as a Weekend Update anchor, and now she's going to the White House Correspondent's Dinner! Joan would be proud, and I hope she brings them to their feet! (Unlike certain actual reporters who bring them to their feet and out the door. I'm not naming names.)

5. ROBIN WILLIAMS

At the end of the classic Mork and Mindy episode, "Mork Meets Robin Williams," Robin, in character as Mork, told his superior Orson that fame could be a blessing and a curse, and asked Orson, and us,to consider these stars who left too soon:

Janis Joplin
Jimi Hendrix
Buster Keaton
Fannie Brice
Buddy Holly
Richie Valens

and especially, John Lennon.

We can add Robin himself to this list. He could have lived a longer and happier life, but unfortunately, he left too soon. It goes without saying that he will be missed.

4, SCOTT SHANNON

The hits just keep on coming from this Radio Hall of Famer! He left Hot AC station WPLJ for legendary oldies station WCBS-FM, and he hasn't sounded better than he has at his employer since March of this past year. He remains a nice guy, an irreverent observer of the world scene, and a music afficionado, with great people in his corner. He has recently honored the memory of countdown king Casey Kasem with his own weekend show, AMERICA'S GREATEST HITS, now heard on stations from coast to coast. He may no longer be the Morning Zookeeper, but Shannon is still on the prowl and sounding better than ever!

The following portion of the blog is brought to you by the number 3.

THREE NAUGHTY NEWSMAKERS THAT DIDN'T MAKE THE COUNTDOWN

3. NBC for cancelling "A to Z" when they made it to "H is for Hostile Takeover." What the F?
2. Speaking of takeovers, HASBRO for going after DreamWorks Animation just after they signed a lucrative deal with Disney.
1. EVERYBODY IN FERGUSON,MO AND THEIR SUPPORTERS for tying up traffic,wrecking buildings, and generally going crazy just to make their point. Seriously, can't we all just get along?

3, SESAME STREET

Although CAPTAIN KANGAROO, the MICKEY MOUSE CLUB, and MISTER ROGERS NEIGHBORHOOD all had segments of an educational nature, they lacked that X Factor that would get kids learning and loving every minute of it and parents and teachers content in the knowledge that not only were their young charges getting ready for life in the classroom and beyond, but they were getting a quality TV program they could enjoy without guilt. Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morriset found that something extra, and forty-five years ago, SESAME STREET was born with no signs of slowing down today! While original human cast members have come and gone, Jim Henson's puppet creations continue to populate the Street with new characters, such as fairy Abby Cadabry, Murray the Monster,Minnie Mynah, and of course, Elmo, joining iconic friends such as Big Bird, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Bert, Ernie, and Prairie Dawn. Back then, the STREET was planned as a mix of the fast pace of LAUGH-IN, and the production values of television commercials, but the world was already changing at an alarming rate, and the STREET had to address charges of racism and sexism. Fortunately, a Hispanic couple (Luis and Maria) was introduced as were ethnic Muppets, and the STREET now extends through more than 100 countries and territories with co-productions in many of them. (Only one, PLAZA SESAMO from Mexico, is broadcast in the USA.) SESAME STREET is the perfect blend of education and entertainment for its pre-school target audience and sophisticated humor for the former kids. (One noteworthy example: SONS OF POETRY, which the creator of the decidedly mature original LOVES!) Since the STREET's inception, its producer, originally Children's Television Workshop and now Sesame Workshop,has created two basic reading shows, each called THE ELECTRIC COMPANY (The first one starred Bill Cosby, and see the Naughty List to find out what I think of him THESE days.), a health education show for adults called FEELING GOOD, a science show called 3-2-1 CONTACT!, a math show called SQUARE ONE TV, and a spinoff of the STREET focusing on games and exercises called PLAY WITH ME, SESAME (which has been broadcast on advertising supported channels Nick Jr. and Sprout), but none of them have had the impact of the original STREET, although PLAY WITH ME comes very close. In 45 years, SESAME STREET has gone from, "Who needs it?" to "Can't do without it!"

And now, we're up to the top two nicest newsmakers of 2014, but before we reveal them to a waiting world:

TWO NICE NEWSMAKERS THAT DIDN'T MAKE THE COUNTDOWN

2.  PAUL MCCARTNEY

Fifty  years after the lads' Ed Sullivan debut, New York still loves him, YEAH YEAH YEAH! (I saw him in concert at the Times-Union Center in Albany, and he can still put on a show!)

1.  MIKE NICHOLS

These days he has been best known as Diane Sawyer's husband, but he was better known for his rich portfolio on Broadway and in Hollywood. His star shone as brightly as the actors he guided.

YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE,

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

NOW BATTING,

THE CAPTAIN OF THE NEW YORK YANKEES,

NUMBER TWO,

DEREK

JETER.

NUMBER TWO.

2. DEREK JETER

With those words, (Derek stipulated that nobody other than Yankee Stadium PA announcer Bob Shephard speak those words, even on tape, everytime he took the field at home.) Derek Sanderson Jeter, trusty Louisville Slugger in hand, stepped up to the plate, and consistently delivered a truly Broadway-worthy performance. Drafted out of high school in 1992 and making his major league debut in 1995, Derek played shortstop for the Yanks and ONLY the Yanks for twenty years,racking up an impressive 3465 hits and 2747 games played. He led the Yanks to five World Series championships, and became that rare kind of professional athlete, the kind respected by both home and opposing team players and fans. He has been the face of Ford Motor Company, Nike's Jordan brand, 24 Hour Fitness (including a group of 24 Hour Derek Jeter clubs in the New York area of which yours truly is a proud member), and Gatorade, to name but a few.Since hanging up the legendary Yankee Pinstripes uniform, "Jete" has founded his own publishing company, Jeter Publishing, and his own sports news site, http://www.theplayerstribune.com ,but his best-known extra-curricular activity is the charitable Turn 2 Foundation which helps children and teenagers avoid addiction and awards academic achievement. For conduct truly befitting a champion, on and off the field, Derek Jeter is Steve's Blog's Number Two Nicest Newsmaker Of 2014, and this blog donates $22 to the Turn 2 Foundation in his name.

And now, we're up to the nicest newsmaker of the year, a man who began life on the mean streets of Detroit and ended it under bizarre circumstances in Washington State, but who shared the gift of music with people of every age around the world. While other kids his age were only fantasizing about a career on the radio, Lebanese-American Kemal Amen Kasem lived the dream as he covered sports at Northwestern High School and played children on shows such as THE LONE RANGER. Kemal was later drafted and served in Korea where he spun records for the Armed Forces Radio Network. After doing his patriotic duty, he worked as a DJ for stations in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where he began to not only play the records, but talk about the artists who made them. As anti-war protests divided America and her youth began deserting clear channel AM hit music stations for progressive rock on the FM, he bucked the trend with the July 4, 1970 premiere of his nationally syndicated countdown broadcast, AMERICAN TOP 4O WITH CASEY KASEM.

Not only did Casey play the hits and talk about the stars behind them, but he also reported the top music news of the week a decade before the inception of MTV and played Long Distance Dedications for listeners who wanted to express their feelings of love for those special people in their lives, or loss for those who had left their lives never to return. For adult contemporary listeners, Casey also hosted AMERICAN HOT 20 and AMERICAN TOP 10, not to be confused with the music video countdown, AMERICA'S TOP 10.

With the countdown's success extending far beyond the borders of the 50 United States, Casey became one of the most sought-after voice artists in America, not only performing promotional duties for NBC, but also lending his talents to such characters as Shaggy Rogers in SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU? and many of its successive spinoffs, the title character in the special HERE COMES PETER COTTONTAIL, and Robin in SUPER FRIENDS.

In 1988, he left AT40 due to a contract dispute and moved from the ABC Radio Network, the show's distributor, to Westwood One, where he hosted CASEY'S TOP 40 which employed the Radio & Records chart as opposed to AT40's Billboard chart. In 1995, AT40, then hosted by Shadoe Stevens, was cancelled, and two years later, Casey regained the rights to the name, as the show moved to the AMFM network, which was soon acquired by Premiere Radio Networks. In 2009, Casey retired from AT40 .

A devoted family man, Casey had three children, Mike,Julie, and Kerri, through his first wife Linda, and one,Liberty Jean, through his second wife Jean. Casey had very strong beliefs, often at the expense of lucrative acting jobs.

In 2007, Casey was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Six years later, he was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, which robbed him of his unique vocal gifts. As his health worsened, Jean Kasem forbade any contact with the outside world, particularly with children from his first marriage.

In an almost comic series of events, Casey was removed from a Santa Monica, CA nursing home and popped up in Washington State, where he was reported to be in critical but stable condition.Judge Daniel S. Murphy ruled that he had to be fed, hydrated, and medicated as a court-appointed lawyer appointed on his status.When Casey's body did not respond to treatment, the judge allowed the family to place him on "end-of-life" measures despite Jean Kasem's objections. On June 15,2014, 82 year-old Casey Kasem's journey ended in Gig Harbor, WA. He was survived by his wife, four children and four children.

More than the way he died, Casey will be remembered for the way he lived. His was a life devoted to service to his fellow human being, and to music. He helped many acts we now take for granted get their start, and helped revitalize many other careers. Although AT-40 was the most listened to countdown show in the world, Casey could only take some of the credit despite a strong presence. He had a single, "Letter From Elaina," about a girl who had met George Harrison, but it never achieved national prominence. Although he no longer is part of our Sunday mornings, I'm sure the voice who launched a thousand careers would be happy if I said, (Drumroll please.)

"CASEY KASEM, YOU ARE NUMBER ONE."

1. CASEY KASEM, 1932-2014

Of the many charities Casey supported, the one he probably was the most associated with was the Muscular Dystrophy Association, since he helped Jerry Lewis on some of his many MDA telethons.
Therefore, this blog donates $100 to MDA in his memory. This blog is also affectionately dedicated to the memory of Casey Kasem.

And there you have them, the 10 naughtiest and nicest newsmakers for the year ending December 16,2014. I would like to thank Bettijane Eisenpreis, Scott Shannon, Sheila Watko, Cooper Lawrence,Patty Steele, Chelsea Duffy,(and a special shout out to Jennifer Castellano)and anybody else whose name I may have forgotten at this time for their continued support, and, of course, I would like to thank my readers around the world for THEIR continued support.

Don't miss Steve's Book, coming in 2015 to a physical or online bookstore near you!

Until January 2, 2015, when we'll do whatever the heck we've been doing,have a a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah, and a VERY Happy New Year, and keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars! AND...

Bye,Buckaroos!
Steve

As we went to press, Australia mourned the brave people who gave their lives in the cause of freedom during the terrible Sydney Siege which took place at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place, a shopping center I have had the pleasure to visit myself as well as the home of 7 Network.
My sincerest condolences to the citizens of the beautiful land Down Under, especially Kochie and Mel from the Sunrise program, Robin Bailey, and expatriate Brad Blanks and family.


 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2.23 SANTA STEVE'S NAUGHTY LIST

Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Dogs and Cats, to the 2014 edition of Santa Steve's Naughty List, the first of two year-end specials wherein we count down the best and worst newsmakers of the year. ICYMI (or, In Case You Missed It), the two naughtiest newsmakers of '13 were those jerks who turned the Boston Marathon into a nightmare and the two nicest were Miles "Batkid" Scott, who upheld law and order in San Francisco thanks to Make-A-Wish, and the late,great president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Who gets the coal in their stocking and a $100 donation to charity in their name, respectively, THIS year? There's only one way to find out... LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!


DISHONORABLE MENTION

STEVE

Yep, the Steve in Steve's Blog. Moi. Yo. Io. Mir. I haven't been cranking out as many blogs this year as I did this year. MY BAD! I'm going to make it up to you in 2015!

10. THE FILTHY ANIMALS

They never give up, do they? I'm surprised nobody before WNBC reporter Michael Garguilo called the Times Square costumed performers in ratty Mickey Mouse, Elmo, and Spider-Man outfits "panhandlers," but if the shoe fits! They took their case to the City Council and the politicians were, understandably, underwhelmed. Their next costume should be as normal human beings with actual jobs!

9. BILL DEBLASIO

What kind of New York City Mayor eats pizza with a knife and fork, shows up late for memorial services (and key media events), and wants to eliminate those iconic Central Park carriage horses? This guy.

8. MILEY CYRUS

Just when I thought her inner Hannah Montana had risen to the top when she allowed a homeless friend to accept her MTV Video Music Award in her name and deliver a tearjerking speech on the plight of homeless youth, it turns out this guy has been wanted in a few states and not wanted in all the rest! Add to that continued displays of outrageous behavior and your blogger has come to the inescapable conclusion: If Miles wants to escape her Disney past, she should stop acting Goofy!

7. THE NEW YORK YANKEES

They could have let Derek Jeter retire in true championship style with another World Series victory, but did they? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

6. ALL OTHER NEW YORK TEAMS, EXCEPT THE ISLANDERS

Get with the program, guys, and get some touchdowns, goals, and slam dunks! I'm talking to you, Giants, Knicks and Rangers!

5. HOWARD STERN

I love the fact that you delivered the eulogy for your friend Joan Rivers at my favorite synagogue, gorgeous Congregation Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue, but did it HAVE to be so profanity-laced, Sterno? If you can rein it in for AMERICA'S GOT TALENT, surely you can tone it down at a funeral!

4. MOTHER NATURE

Why did it have to be so dang cold this past summer and so dang warm in the last few weeks? As a citizen of Manhattan, I naturally have a preference over Buffalo, but what happened to them shouldn't happen to a dog! Go snow in somebody else's city!

3. KATHIE LEE GIFFORD

I haven't heard your TODAY show musical yet, but based on your sparkling track record with your Broadway musical based on the life of Aimee Semple McPhereson, Sondheim has NOTHING to worry about!

2. BILL COSBY

On the late, unlamented Sesame Workshop-produced health show FEELING GOOD, (Full disclosure: My cousin Bob Bendick, who also worked on TODAY, was the producer for this well-intentioned turkey.) Bill Cosby attempted to show his basketball prowess, and legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell commented,"William Henry Cosby, Junior. You call yourself a comedian. How accurate that description after that laughable excuse for a slam dunk." Equally laughable is how well Cos is attempting to  live up to his America's Dad image after recent allegations of molestation. I used to be a big fan of this guy. I saw him at Radio City Music Hall during his reign as King Of Thursday Night and at Kaufmann Astoria Studios for his shortlived Americanization of the British comedy "One Foot In The Grave," and watch his many TV projects, especially FAT ALBERT AND THE COSBY KIDS. He just eliminated any respect I still had for his extensive body of work. I can't repeat exactly what SNL Weekend Update anchor Michael Che said to Cos who has chastised African-American men on their lewd and lascivious behavior, but, at the risk of sounding racist, talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

And the absolute, WORST newsmaker of 2014 is...

THE ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA

We WILL kick your butt!

NEXT: THE NICE LIST!

Steve


Steve's Mega- Movie Blog

HOW TO BUILD A BETTER BOY

While Disney may have invented many entertainment types we now take for granted, it can't claim credit for the TV movie, but in instances such as HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 1 and 2, CADET KELLY, JUMP IN!, and ZENON: GIRL OF THE 23RD CENTURY and its "zequel," it certainly perfected it. Add to this roster HOW TO BUILD A BETTER BOY, a teen comedy/action drama starring Kelli Berglund, no stranger to this genre, as Mae Hartley,the daughter of a video game designer (Or so she's been told!), and China Anne McClain as her bestie, Gabby Harrison. As our story begins, Mae tries to make Jaden Stark (Noah Centineo), the star QB, love math as much as he does football, but she does NOT...GO...ALL..THE...WAY! That night, Mae and Gabby hack into Dad's equipment. They THINK they're creating the perfect virtual video game boyfriend, but little did they know that Dear Old Dad actually works for THE PENTAGON and their Mr. Right is actually THE PROTOTYPE OF A SERIES OF SUPER SOLDIER ROBOTS! Kelli brings her expertise from Disney XD's LAB RATS wherin she plays Bree Davenport, one of a family of bionic heroes who just HAPPEN to live in the basement of an average American boy  and his reporter mom, and while she and China (A.N.T FARM, short for "Advanced Natural Talent") are clearly the central characters as is Albert, the Better Boy, (Marshall Williams), Ieva Lucs steals the show as Major Jenks, a love-starved soldier who never went to a prom and must live vicariously through Mae. While Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door, " the Mouse is clearly building better movies, especially HOW TO BUILD A BETTER BOY. See if your cable company has the WATCH DISNEY CHANNEL app or see if you can get Disney Channel On Demand, but SEE IT! (BTW, China's vocal talents are on display on A.N.T. FARM, but check out Marshall and Kelli's duet on fellow Disney star Selena Gomez' "Love You Like A Love Song.")

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014)

I'm not going to use the derogatory terms associated with two certain Disney characters to describe this attempted reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action franchise, but they certainly apply. Those who paid close attention to the last three live-action TMNT movies may recall that the boys were actually animated by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, and anybody who remembers the man knows that anything attatched to his name has to meet certain standards of quality. This "cowa-bummer" misses those standards by a country mile and is a pizza...nuff said.

BIRDMAN

Don't believe the hype. It should be called Bird Poop.

BIG HERO 6

DO believe the hype on this one! This Disney delight takes this parody of/tribute to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and other Japanese super heroes (based on the Marvel comic SUNFIRE AND BIG HERO 6 by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Roleau) to new heights! Inventor Hiro, loose cannon Go Go, Valley Girl Honey Lemon,comic relief Wasabi, slacker Fred, and robot Baymax combine to fight evil in the hybrid future town of San Fransokyo and gain the super power of friendship. Big Hero is a big hit!

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU

If you find this alleged dramedy starring Tina Fey and Connie Britton (NASHVILLE) among others, leave it.

ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE,HORRIBLE,NO GOOD,VERY BAD DAY

This wonderful, beautiful, not bad, very good adaptation of Judith Viorst's picture book is a laugh riot from opening credits to end titles, although it DOES dwell heavily on our hero's planned departure to Australia. (Some days I can't say I blame him!) Jennifer Garner and Steve Carrell steal the show as Mom and Dad, Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke puts in a great performance trying to read a kids' book which has endured a major printing error, and SHAKE IT UP! cutie Bella Thorne lives up to her name as a stood-up prom queen. Kudos to the Jim Henson Company and Shawn Levy on a fantastic,fabulous,no worries, totally awesome movie.

OVER THE GARDEN WALL

This recent Cartoon Network mini-series aspires to be the offbeat kind of fantasy adventure one expects from the home of ADVENTURE TIME, STEVEN UNIVERSE, UNCLE GRANDPA, and REGULAR SHOW, but stops just short. It IS worth a download from Netflix or Amazon just for the sake of curiosity.
SPOILER ALERT: It originally aired just after Halloween 2014 and the last chapter is set at a Halloween party. Let that inform your decision to download or not.

NEXT: Santa Steve's Naughty and Nice Lists!

Happy Thanksgiving, Buckaroos!
Steve