Monday, May 19, 2014

2.20 The Good, The Bad, and the Birthday

THE GOOD

Yesterday, I celebrated my 56th birthday by going back in time, sorta, at the World's Fair International Festival at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, NY, where the 1939 and 1964 New York World's Fairs took place. I was a little late for 1939, but I was there in 1964, and I saw it all, especially the Walt Disney rides (It's A Small World, Carousel of Progress, and Magic Skyway) whose success inspired their creator to explore the possibility of creating a permanent East Coast theme park. (Walt Disney World opened some seven years later, and the rest is history!) I revisited many of the attractions at the Queens Museum and the "Tent of Tomorrow," a tribute to the 1939 Fair's theme, "the World of Tomorrow," and met a lot of great people, including Mr. and Mrs. Met, the Amazin team from Flushing's mascots. They weren't Mickey and Minnie, who I met some fifty years prior, but, hey, there's only one Mickey and Minnie team, no matter what their dopplegangers on Times Square think!

THE BAD

One day before my mom and I went out to a very special birthday dinner (Deets next!) I got a birthday present from my bank I didn't particularly want.

My checking account was hacked.

Happy frickin' birthday.

HOO-ray.

And to make matters worse, it was hacked by somebody I THOUGHT I could call a friend, somebody I THOUGHT I could trust, and that's all I'm gonna say about THAT.

If you've seen that surveillance tape of Jay-Z and his sister-in-law having at it in the elevator of a chi-chi hotel, (Did you see that SNL sketch when they "revealed" that his sib-in-law Solange, played to hilarious effect by Maya Rudolph, actually tried to remove a spider from him?) you'll probably think that privacy is all but dead. (Whether you're right is a topic for another blog.) This was certainly evidence that it HAS known better days, but take it from a guy who's been there and who's not going back: Do NOT, and I mean, NOT, give your online passwords or Social Security Number to ANYBODY! If you think this can happen only to some other guy, guess again, Chester! That other guy may be you! This has been a public service announcement from Steve's Blog!

THE BIRTHDAY

I had a FANTABULOUS birthday dinner at NYY Steak, the Yankees' steakhouse at Seven West 51st Street in Manhattan. It ain't cheap, but it's well worth the extra bucks! As for a HAPPIER surprise present than the one I mentioned above, I had a close encounter today, my ACTUAL birthday, with the TODAY Show's Hoda Kotb. She may drink a little more than the average human, but she's VERY coherent and VERY nice, and I have the pleasure to inform you wonderful people that Yours Truly will be in the TODAY audience next Monday. Stay tuned!

Well, that's it for my blogday birth, or words to that effect, but, until next time....

Bye, Buckaroos!
Steve

And remember the immortal words of the National Lampoon: "Don't be a careless person! Be a care-more person!"

Saturday, May 10, 2014

2.19 Steve's Movie Blog: Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return (PG)

You are NOT in Kansas anymore.

You aren't even at WICKED which, you may be surprised to hear, showed a great deal of reverence towards L. Frank Baum's enchanted land of Oz while introducing new songs that flew into the Great Broadway Songbook with no sign of leaving.

This is an attempt, inspired by "Dorothy of Oz," a novel by Roger S. Baum, the grandson of The Royal Historian Of Oz, I refer, of course, to Lyman Frank Baum, who Rascally Roy Thomas once referred to as "The American Grimm," to bring the Oz saga into the new millenium. This animated mishmash has no memorable songs like "Over The Rainbow" or "Defy Gravity," despite the better efforts of Bryan Adams and his partner Jim Vallence. (Oh for the days of "Summer of '69," "Cuts Like A Knife," and "Heaven!")

Lea Michelle comes nowhere close to channeling Judy Garland's portrayal of Dorothy, and while it's great to hear Ackroyd and Belushi (Jim, not his late great brother) together again (Dan is the Scarecrow and Jim is the Lion) and the always delightful Kelsey Grammer as the Tin Man, the whole production only elicited tears of sleep and very few laughs from the audience, this reviewer included.

I can think of a hundred better interpetations of the Oz mythos, of course the MGM classic leads the pack hands down. After I read the names of everyone to blame for this doodad, I clicked my heels together three times and said, (You guessed it!) "There's no place like home!"

Long story short: KICK IT!

Bye Buckaroos!
Steve

Thursday, May 8, 2014

2.18 HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!

Hard to believe, but next Wednesday, May 14, marks the FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF STEVE'S BLOG,as well as MY birthday five days early. I'd like to thank everybody in the USA,Spain,Latvia, Lithuania,France, Italy,the United Kingdom,and even Russia and Ukraine who've stuck by this blogger since Day One for their continued support. I couldn't done it without you! (Actually, I COULD have done it without you, but it would have stunk to High Heaven!) Here's to many more years! I AM considering tie-ins such as Steve's Book, Steve's Movie, Steve's Mag, Steve Radio, and Steve TV. The sky's the limit!
Sunday is Mother's Day in the USA, and I would like to wish all the best to all the women who told us to put that down cause we didn't know where it had been,sit up straight, and call when we got there. For all you do, this blog's for you. (Yeah, yeah, I know it ain't too original, but you deserve SOME recognition.)

One sure sign of warmer weather is a whole lot of TV shows going on hiatus. Next Saturday, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE welcomes Andy Samberg back as its guest host, this coming Sunday, ONCE UPON A TIME wraps up possibly its strangest season, one which began in Neverland, had an interlude in New York, and ended in Oz, Emily Thorne's quest for REVENGE is doomed to come to an end this coming Sunday after her secret identity is revealed,and ABC News says goodbye to a legend, Baba Wawa, (OOPS, I meant Barbara Walters!) with a two-hour special. Waiting in the wings are, among others, the wicked summer soap MISTRESSES (starring Alyssa Milano, among others) LOUIE, a Seinfeld-inspired (but TV-MA rated) look at the life of comedian Louis C.K.,the cop drama MOTIVE, and RISING STAR, a completely  different singing competition designed to make the American people ask, "Idol What?" "The Voice of Where?"

I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Nicole Vranizan, formerly of the New York Rangers, and her colleagues Gretchen Muller and Chelsea Duffy, for their unwavering support, as a matter of fact, this whole blog was Nick's idea! Unfortunately, people are starting to write the obituary for the Broadway Blues' 2013-2014 campaign as the playoffs move to Pittsburgh, but, although it may sound Pollyannesque of me, I still believe the boys can pull a rabbit out of their hockey helmets!

I have been known to go to great lengths, namely from sunny Bermuda to snowy Quebec, just to see the Rangers, and my cousin David gave up an Ozzie-and-Harriet-style existence in Lawrenceville, NJ just to follow his beloved Grateful Dead, but a member of the morning crew on WCBS-FM nicknamed Kermit the Wonder Frog has JUST surfaced after a wild week of partying at the Carolina Rebellion Festival. And guess who he followed all the way Down South. The Stones? NOPE! Chicago (the band)? NOPE! Bruce? NOPE! The particular musical aggregation he followed was (Wait for it, wait for it.) FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH! Next time, Kermie, if you're reading this, stick with something like Billy Joel at the Garden!

Forgive me, fellow NFL fans, but I'm not following the Draft as much as I have been following it, but the Rangers have some hockey to play, and besides, how CAN you possibly follow the winter street fair on Super Bowl Boulevard?

You've been reading the HAPPY BIRTHDAY portion of Steve's Blog produced, written and choreographed by Your Humble Servant, Sturdy Steve Eisenpreis. Portions of the preceding show were last seen with faces full of birthday cake. On behalf of the management and staff, this is your announcer thanking you for your support, and reminding you that Donald Sterling is no more a non-racist than I am Scarlet Johansen.(Come to think of it, I wouldn't look TOO bad in that black jumpsuit and that red hair!)

Bye,Buckaroos!
Steve




Thursday, April 17, 2014

2.17 BABY'S HAVING A CHELSEA! BELSEA'S HAVING A CHABY!

No, there's no Mrs. Chelsea Eisenpreis, and no, I haven't gone COMPLETELY nuts. I was just referring to the classic HANNAH MONTANA episode, "Miley Hurt the Feelings of the Radio Star," wherin a DJ at a Radio Disney-type station(played by actual DJ Ernie D)who hired Miley and her two buds as interns , heard from his wife at the hospital and TRIED to say, "My wife's having a baby," but it got all messed up, and all understandably so.

The Chelsea in question is none other than Chelsea Clinton, daughter of the 42nd President of the United States, a reporter for NBC News, a participant in Bill and Hilary's Clinton Global Initiative, and, if things had turned out differently, my neighbor (but nothing can be done about that, and besides, I love the neighbors I have!), and she and hubby Marc Mezvinsky are the proud parents of a little gender-to-be-named-later. Congratulations to Chels, Marc, Bill and Hil!

Good luck to the New York Rangers as they begin their playoff series against their perennial rivals, the hated Philadelphia Flyers. The Rangers, and their home ice, Madison Square Garden, are truly one of a kind, while the Flyers' animated logo is a blatant steal from the original Marvel Studios logo, only instead of pages flipping showing Marvel Super Heroes, the pages show current and past Flyers. The Rangers I know would NEVER think of doing such a thing, but they wouldn't be above yelling, "IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!," because it certainly is. LET'S GO RANGERS! BEAT THE FLYERS!

Congratulations and good luck also to fellow Steve, Stephen Colbert, who will take the wheel of the CBS Late Show next year after Dave Letterman falls off the bandstand. I hear he'll be happy to ditch his faux Conservative persona, and I can name a whole lot of people at FOX NEWS and the two major talk radio stations in NYC who'll be just as happy! (I also know a few liberals who won't miss the old Colbert!)

While we're busy congratulating and wishing people good luck, all the best to Derek Jeter as he begins his final season as a New York Yankee. (When traveling to a Yankee game, don't forget the Kleenex!)

Hope all my Jewish readers have been having a happy Passover and the rest of you have a very EGG-citing Easter!

Good news for some Cartoon Network viewers: Their Adult Swim block now begins at 8 PM Eastern.

Good news for a lot of new Disney Channel viewers: Cartoon's Adult Swim block now begins at 8 PM Eastern.

Who's  the wise guy who stole Spring? In the Northeastern US,we've been loving our sunny weather and temps in the 60's, 70's and 80's, (Sounds like a radio station tagline, doesn't it?) but some idiot has been sending snow and low temps.   There oughta be a law against that!

Until next time,

Bye, Buckaroos!
Steve




Saturday, April 5, 2014

2.16 Hosgeldiniz, Turkiye! Hangug e Osin Geos-Eul Hwan-Yeonghabnida! Huanying Guanglin, Taiwan!

Welcome Turkey, South Korea and Taiwan! Great to have you aboard! (I haven't forgotten about you, PROC! Thanks for your continued support, as a certain wine cooler used to say!)

If any of you in our new countries has ever visited the Good Old USA, you're probably aware of David Letterman, a former Cleveland weatherman who went on to become a rising young comedian, a completely different afternoon talk show host, late night TV's comedy bad boy, and, ultimately, an American cultural icon. Three decades and millions of Stupid Pet Tricks and Top Ten Lists later, Dave decided to hang it up when his contract with his current employer, CBS, runs out in 2015. You've earned your chance to go out with a bang, Dave. Now, go out and swing your golf club. Just one request: "STOP BENDING THE SHAFT!" (Google Search it.)

Unfortunately, the only way you Turks are likely to enjoy baseball is if you either fly to North America or certain Oriental countries (such as our new friends in Korea and Taiwan) or visit Italy or Army bases in Germany and other such countries, but over here in the USA, we've been waiting since this past January for the Game's finest to put on their uniforms, pick up their bats, and head onto the field.I wish I could crow about the Yankees' immaculate win record, but the name of this blog isn't "Steve's Fantasy Blog!" The truth is, with much of its powerhouse lineup gone, the Yanks (and Mets) have stumbled out of the gate. (At least they each have new radio stations, WFAN for the Yanks and WOR for the Mets.) If it's any consolation, there ARE 156 games waiting to be played.

What else do I have to say? I have to say...that I have nothing to say! (Except that as soon as I see CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, you will get a full report!)

Bye,Buckaroos!
Steve

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2.15 Salaam, Algeria!

Hello, Algeria, and the rest of the world, and welcome to the next one hundred Steve's Blogs. So much to talk about and so little time to do it, so let's get to it, shall we?

March 17 may have been St. Patrick's Day, but in New York City, March 27 was "Patty's Day," as in Patty Steele, a radio news reporter who has worked at WOR 710, Z100, 95.5 PLJ, and WCBS 880, and returned to Scott Shannon's New York radio family as the resident expert on all news hard and soft. Savannah Guthrie, watch out! This lady has more talent in her little finger than you have in your entire body! (MAYBE I'm just being prejudiced.)


As longtime readers of this blog may gather, I am a man of many interests, among them professional wrestling, Lincoln Center, and Torah study. Another one of my interests is a certain Marvin Lee Aday, alias
Meat Loaf, alias Mr. Loaf. The aforesaid Mr. Loaf once observed (with help from a certain Jim Steinman) that "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad." This applies to film maker Darren Aronofsky and his recent motion picture body of work. I ooed and ahhed at "The Wrestler" (which he produced with the cooperation of the Ring of Honor promotion), and I watched "Black Swan" with interest and sprang to my feet applauding and yelling "Bravo!" as the end credits rolled, but when he tackled the Torah, particularly the early chapters of the Book of Genesis pertaining to a certain Mr. NOAH, that's when I lost all interest. Despite a tolerable performance from Russell Crowe as the titular character, this poor attempt at catering to fans of TITANIC, STAR WARS, and THE HOBBIT experiences the same sad fate as those two unicorns (from the classic Irish Rovers song) who were floated away and never seen again. The harebrained plot concerns a group of "robots" called the Watchers, supposedly sent by "the Creator" to make sure Noah builds that ark. (I preferred Danny Kaye in the musical TWO BY TWO and Bill Cosby's monologue from his first album.) This
Noah-count movie is all washed up. KICK IT!

The producer of the New York Comic-Con is about to unleash the first ever Book Con upon an unsuspecting planet. (FYI, the website for tickets and late breaking news is http://www.thebookcon.com .)
If it involves any of the publishers who've had the poor taste to reject my books, I'll be VERY happy if it's the last! (At least the guest stars for the inaugural Book Con are Amy Poehler from "Parks and Rec", Martin Short from "The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley", and Smiling Stan Lee, all people I admire! I just wonder if they know what they're getting themselves into!)

By the way, I apologize for the lack of April Fool's jokes. Actually, I don't. APRIL FOOL!

Good luck to the Yankees as they pursue their 27th World Championship and the Mets as they try to win 90 games. (And if you believe that, I have this bridge in Flatbush I would like to sell you. CHEAP!)

Until next time, I'd like to paraphrase a certain Mr. Elvis Costello and ask, "What's so April Foolish 'bout peace,love and understanding?"

Steve

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

IT'S THE ONE-HUNDREDTH STEVE'S BLOG! YAY!

OK,OK,calm down,Steve, I  hear you say. You've reached Number 100. (Technically, Volume 2,Number 14, or 2.14  if you've been keeping score.) But that's no reason  to go all Kermit The Frog on us!

As the proprietor of Ye Olde Blog, I doth feel compelled to say thee nay. Just think of it. Ten months, nearly twenty countries, and I couldn't have done it without you guys, so stand up and take a bow. (Actually, I COULD  have done it without you, but it would have been BORRRRRINNNNG!) And I also  have good reason to channel old Googly-Eyes:

MUPPETS MOST WANTED (G) Starring Muppet Characters Created by Jim Henson, Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson, and Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell and Featuring Christophe Beck, Salma Hayek,
Celine Dion, Usher Raymond, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs,Jemaine Clement,Tom Hiddleston, WWE Superstar Hornswoggle, and Josh  Groban A Mandeville Films Production Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

As Dr. Benson  Honeydew, the inventor and brains  of the Muppet gang reminds  us in the opening number, this is actually the seventh sequel to THE MUPPET MOVIE,but I doubt if the late,great Jim Henson  (recently joined in Heaven by his widow Jane and  long-time partner Jerry Nelson) could have imagined the impact 2012's THE MUPPETS had on the franchise. Literally picking up where the last movie left off,Kermie,Fozzie, and the ever-divine Miss Piggy contemplate something that will rival anything they ever have done together. Just then, fate steps in in the form of the creator of this little show called "The Office," I refer, of course to Ricky Gervais.  In  this movie, he plays talent agent Dominic Badguy (pronounced "Bad-gee,"  with a hard G sound), who helps  Kermit set up The Muppet Show World  Tour. Unbeknownst to our heroes, Konstantin, the world's most dangerous frog, is on the loose,  and he AND DOMINIC are out to sabotage the Muppets' world tour and steal the art treasures of Europe. As the real Kermit winds up in the Gulag and tries to escape smitten prison guard Nadia (played to comic perfection by Tina Fey), his  evil twin tries his dangdest to host a good old-fashioned Muppet Show in the great theatres of Berlin, Madrid,Dublin and London, joined by a "Who's Who" of superstars. although the best guest star performance clearly belongs to Celine Dion. (Another scene-stealer is  Ty Burrell,  playing a bumbling Interpol agent clearly inspired by the great Peter Sellers.) Long story short: If you haven't seen this most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational movie yet, HOP TO IT!

I  hate to spoil this  party, but some people think I  should edit this blog.

Suppose Walt Disney made "Snow  White and the One Dwarf!"

Suppose Thomas  Jefferson wrote, "We want our own country, the King is a dork,we're all in this together,  we're going to light fireworks and eat hot dogs at baseball games!"

Suppose "Romeo and Juliet" was exactly the same as that Nextel commercial!

Suppose Beethoven only wrote one symphony!

Suppose The Beatles flew right back to Liverpool after that Ed Sullivan guest shot and all  became lawyers!

The fact of the matter is, if I edit this blog, I sacrifice a lot of what makes it the masterpiece people are talking about from London, England to London, Ontario.Say what you will about America, the best thing we've got is  our freedom, and that freedom, along with the creative spark that drove Disney,Jefferson,Shakespeare,  Beethoven and John, Paul, George and Ringo, is the engine that drives this blog. Now, don't get me wrong, some of my best friends are editors, but I will never forgive or forget the two most heartless cold-blooded killers in the history of literature: Jim Shooter of Marvel, who rubbed out Jean Grey, the first female member of the Uncanny X-Men, and DC's Mike Carlin, who committed the ultimate atrocity by destroying the inspiration for many of the First Responders  who looked into, and laughed into the face of  evil  on that terrible day in September, I refer, of course, to  SUPERMAN.

What say you all?  Should I edit this blog  (SOB!) or leave it the way it is? (Please-say-leave-it-the-way-it-is,please-say-leave-it-the-way-it-is!)

All righty then, I just want to wrap it up by thanking everybody out  there in Readerland, especially Nicole, Gretchen, Genesis and Chelsea at Madison Square Garden, Judy Rooks Wilder, and my best friend and toughest critic, Bettijane L. Eisenpreis, for their support over these past one hundred blogs, and THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

Bye, Buckaroos!
Steve

P.S.: Welcome aboard, Sweden, home of the SAAB,ABBA,the team behind all those Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears,Robyn Katy Perry,and *NSYNC hits, Ingmar Bergman, Henrik Lundquist,"The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo," and VIRDIVIRDIVIDI! (Apologies for that lame Swedish Chef impression!)