Sunday, May 6, 2018

214 It's The End Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe As We Know It And I Feel Fine

Wow, what a ride it has been!

No, I don't mean the five years I've been writing this merely magnificent, strictly sensational blog, although I WILL hop in the Wabac Machine and return to those thrilling days of Yesteryear in our next episode. I DO mean the first ten years of Marvel Studios beginning with IRON MAN, continuing with THOR, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS (to avoid confusion with the motion picture adaptation of the UK TV series starring Patrick McNee and Diana Rigg), GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY,the SPIDER-MAN movies featuring Toby Maguire,Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland, DOCTOR STRANGE and BLACK PANTHER, and culminating in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. Yes, the gang's all here, from Robert Downey,Jr. to Scarlet Johansen and everybody in between, but don't expect JUST another Marvel movie. (Yeah, I know, you haven't exactly come to expect JUST another Marvel anything, but hear me out.) Sure, they spend a lot of time in Marvel's stomping grounds of New York, but the action keeps shifting to Scotland, outer space, Washington, and tons of other cool places. Don't expect a lot of pop classics (You're going to hear "Rubberband Man" by the Spinners (the Detroit Spinners for you UK readers) and that's it.), but DO expect a lot of action, a Stan Lee cameo, and (SOB!) a few beloved characters doing the flat wave at Stiff Stadium. (Personally, I think murdering iconic fictional characters should be punished similarly to murdering, say, a JFK or an MLK,Jr, but that's just me.)

If your idea of a quiet afternoon is going to the movies to take a nap, DON'T see INFINITY WAR! If,however, you've always wanted to see Marvel's greatest heroes take on the baddest of the bad, (How do Loki, God of Mischief and Thanos, Mad Emperor of Titan, who battles our heroes for the Infinity Stones which give this movie its name, grab you?), this one is well worth the standing in line and the price of admission! (A word of warning: This movie is PG-13, so you might want to cover the ears of any young heroes tagging along.)

I'm not going to reveal any more deets, (I could, but then, I'd have to kill you if my friends at my local comic shop didn't get me first.) but I WILL say it sets the table for the upcoming Marvel-ous epics ANT MAN AND THE WASP and CAPTAIN MARVEL (starring Brie Larsen as the artist formerly known as Ms.Marvel.) and, I don't know how, and IF they can pull it off, but there IS talk of a sequel.The end of a universe DOES seem like a tough act to follow. I WILL keep you posted, and I WILL say, SEE IT!

NEXT BLOG: (Sing to the tune of Rossini's William Tell Overture or the Lone Ranger theme,depending on your cultural preference)

HAPPY ANNI-VER-SARY!
HAPPY ANNI-VER-SARY!
HAPPY ANNI-VER-SARY!
HA-PPY ANNIVERSARY!


Excelsior! (Just HAD to say it!0
Steve

Saturday, May 5, 2018

213 Only Two Weeks Till Steve's Fifth Bloggiversary! (Mark Your Calendars!)

In these turbulent times, getting in touch with a Higher Power, be it Adonai, Jesus, or Muhammad, is more important than ever before, and people who want to get in touch with the Higher Power of their choice have been known to make a special trip to Jerusalem, the birthplace of all religion.

I could think of a better advertisement, in fact, I could think of a LOT of better advertisements, for the Holy Land than THE ROCK, THE ROAD, AND THE RABBI, by the co-anchor of the TODAY show's fourth hour, Kathie Lee Gifford and tour guide Rabbi Jason Sobel. Since the fourth hour has been called the Drunk Hour since Kathie Lee has been known to consume copious amounts of wine on the air it's easy to forget that before she married NFL star Frank Gifford she appeared on Billy Graham's religious broadcasts (and still subscribes to his platform as a friend and acolyte of his son, the Rev. Franklin Graham), but given the opportunity, she would loudly tell anybody who'd listen (whether they wanted to not) that she firmly believes Our Boy, The Late Great Hey Zeus of Biblical Fame is THE boss of all bosses and anybody who disagrees is a dummy or maybe something worse.
Unforutnately, this is one time when she took the opportunity, and she plays the Jews For Jesus card relentlessly (Her collaborator is  a Messianic Jew and no relation to the beloved Senior Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, Rabbi Ronald B, Sobel, and if he were,he would be disowned in a New York  minute.) If you're a little Kathie Lee fan, and I mean one who just tunes in for her Favorite Things on Monday (In a semi-related book review development, both Kath and my 24 Hour Fitness trainer, the lovely and talented Julie Leonard,love SWEET CHILD OF MINE: HOW I LOST MY SON TO GUNS N' ROSES by Deanna Adler and Lawrence J. Spagnola, a heartbreaking account of how sex,drugs and rock and roll ended the life of Gunner Steven Adler. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day!), you might want to pass this one up. If you're a GINORMOUS fan, read at your own risk.

COMING UP: Avengers fans, assemble for my INFINITY WAR review!

AND LATER: Celebrate Five, count 'em, FIVE fantastic years of Steve's Blog!


Bye, Buckaroos!
Steve

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

212 Say It Ain't So, Stan!

Could the Nicest Newsmaker of 2015 (as voted by Ye Olde Blogge) be forced to trade in his Christmas stocking for a lump of coal?

According to the Daily Mail, Stan "The Man" Lee, the Walt Disney of super heroes, is accused of groping nurses and (SHUDDER!) demanding oral sex in the shower of his $20,000,000 Los Angeles home,but he has sent a "cease and desist" letter to the nursing company employing those women insisting he is the victim of a shakedown.

The nurses claim he wants to be seduced in his bedroom and drops the F-bomb in their presence.

That does NOT sound like the Stan I know and love! Granted, he DID make a little inside visual joke at the expense of the late Hugh Hefner in the first IRON MAN movie, (Nuff said!) and his STRIPARELLA adult cartoon starring Pamela Anderson could hardly be confused for wholesome family entertainment, but, to be quite honest, the #MeToo train has gone off the rails, and anybody, and I DO mean, ANYBODY, with a beef against  a former employer who, in their opinion, MAY be a little too huggy, can just hop on social media, call the local press, or do anything they dang well please, to scream bloody murder and drag the lousy son of a bench's name through the mud.

MY Stan is a nice guy who never hesitates to take time out of his busy schedule to talk comics with the fans who helped him prove wrong the naysayers who said super hero comics were just Pablum with wooden, too-good-to-be-true characters. MY Stan, the one who coined the imperishable phrase, "With great power there must also come great responsibility!", has never forgotten his own words, and takes HIS responsibility as a leader in the entertainment world seriously. He turned a publishing company noted for pulps and rip-offs of Playboy and Mad into Marvel Comics, the gold standard in the industry, famous for reflecting real life while simultaneously transporting the reader to worlds beyond their ken. (Once upon a time, WAAAAY before Marvel's merchandising deal with McDonald's, I sent Stan a Mickey D's gift certificate for the holidays, and a friend of mine at the Marvel Bullpen doubted Stan would know a Big Mac from a Whopper, but a picture of Spider-Man (along with a veritable plethora of Marvels) came swinging my way, and the balloon issuing forth from Spidey's mask said, "Hi,Steve! Thanks for the McDonold's (sic) gift certificate!" In addition, MY Stan is a devoted husband to novelist and actress Joan Comstock Lee and father to Joanie, as well as proud parent of Spidey, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Black Widow, and more heroes (and villains) than I can possibly name here. The icon who made these names household words could not POSSIBLY be the old man sources for the nursing company claim to be a doddering shadow of his former magnificent self.

Don't get me wrong, I believe Donald Trump, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Russell Simmons,and,of course, Harvey Weinstein, are guilty of any possible wrong doing and deserve to be punished as the courts see fit (in the Donald's case, impeachment, and not a moment too soon), but the Stan I know, the Stan of "EXCELSIOR!", the Stan who created so many beloved characters, would never commit such a heinous crime, and deserves to have his name cleared. Hollywood, I appreciate your concern, but, to quote the brilliantly talented Shel Silverstein, "Some helping is the kind of helping that helping's all about/And some helping is the kind of helping that we can do without."

FREE STAN LEE!
FREE STAN LEE!
FREE STAN LEE!
Steve


Monday, January 1, 2018

211 Welcome Back,My Friends, to the Show that Never Ends!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Congratulations on surviving 2017, and welcome to this, the very first Steve's Blog of 2018. Before I go any further, I would like to thank the people of Boston, MA, especially the Sheraton Boston Hotel, the Newsfeed Cafe at the Boston Public Library, Newbury Comics, the Reform Action Committee (who hosted a fantabulous Biennial  which I had the pleasure to attend as part of a delegation from GORGEOUS Temple Emanu-El) and everybody at TD Garden, especially the Celtics and Bruins who defeated their respective adversaries JUST FOR LITTLE OL' ME, for a great long weekend from 12/6 to 12/10. I know that NYC and BOS are supposed to be rivals, but they really know how to roll out the old red carpet for tourists!

It may be brutally cold in NYC as I take keypad in paw, but Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I plan to visit Springfield in the aforementioned great state of MA during the Fourth of July holiday to see the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, (also the home of Cumulus Broadcasting's WMAS-FM and WHLL-AM, the latter previously affiliated with Scott Shannon's True Oldies Channel and ESPN Radio, now affiliated with CBS Sports Radio as well as the New York Yankees Radio Network, driven by Jeep, so I shouldn't feel too homesick) the Springfield Cardinals, (looking forward to a whole lot of "Slam-A-Lama-Ding-Dongs," to use a phrase coined by the MLB St. Louis club's lead sponsor, Anheuser-Busch. Hey, "Ballantine Blast," was already taken, and 'sides, Bud, not Ballantine, is a St. Louis beer!) and museums dedicated to other Springfield institutions such as Dr. Seuss and Parker Brothers of Monopoly fame. I'm feeling warmer just thinking about it!

Seventeen may have been a bummer of a year, but, at least Mariah Carey redeemed herself with a spectacular performance of her 1990 classic "Vision of Love" on last night's DICK CLARK'S NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE! The best thing about it was I watched in the comfort of my warm home. Everybody out there who froze their butts off just to see the festivities, you're a better person than I! (And Rudyard Kipling is spinning in his grave!)

Even though Seventeen took with it "alternate facts," "Fake News," and "covfefe," unfortunately it also took Rose Marie, who boomers may remember as Sally Rogers on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, and Sue Grafton, better known as the creator of Kinsey Milhone and her alphabetical adventures. (Z you up in Heaven, Sue.)

Just so you know, portions of the preceding blog were last seen vacuuming confetti in Times Square, all opinions are mine, and friends don't let friends drive drunk or spoil the ending of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. (I WILL say the Force is VERY strong with this one!)

Happy New Year, Buckaroos!
Steve out!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

210 Santa Steve's Nice List

BUT, FIRST...

Matt Lauer has been relieved of his TODAY show anchor duties thanks to reports of sexual misconduct. I WOULD say I'm surprised, but after his tempestuous relationship with Ann Curry which ended in her demotion to international correspondent, not so much. Fancy a lump of coal, old chap? Other last minute bad boys: Garrison Keilor, formerly of A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, Jonathan Schwartz,former DJ and WNYC radio air personality,and Russell Simmons, hip hop legend. (Attention Boston-area readers: Not even Fannee Doolee likes Matt Lauer and Russell Simmons. Nuff said!)

OOOOOOOKAY. PREVIOUSLY IN STEVE'S BLOG Santa Steve's Naughty List

10. MARK HALPERIN
9. CHARLIE ROSE
8. JUDGE ROY MOORE
7. PLANET FITNESS
6. KELLYANNE CONWAY
5. PEOPLE WEEKLY
4. TIME INC.
3. SINCLAIR BROADCASTING
2. DONALD J.TRUMP
1. CHARLES MANSON

And the countdown continues...

10. FIRST RESPONDERS

Some may criticize me for putting you guys at the bottom of the table, but you guys, police, fire, medical etc., did such a great job responding to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria (Although our President could have helped a lot more in Puerto Rico!), and this nice list is gonna be VERY crowded, consider it a perfect ten!

9. LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA

I was once told "Remember where you come from." The man behind HAMILTON certainly does, and his efforts to help his ancestral homeland of Puerto Rico deserve more than an honorable mention!

8. TOM PETTY

This Florida native combined country, rock, and punk elements to become a voice of his generation, if not THE voice! From his work with his own band, The Heartbreakers, to the Traveling Wilburys sessions with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison, Petty's influence was anything but. Not only did he write and sing "I Won't Back Down," he also lived it. That song also became an anthem of unity against the terror of the Las Vegas hotel shooting, and deservedly so. Hope you get that Rickenbacker guitar and Chuck Berry songbook you always wanted on Earth for Christmas up there in Heaven, Tom!

7. LEN WEIN

Lively Len went from idolizing comic masters such as Stan Lee, Carmine Infantino, and Julius Schwartz to working alongside them. To paraphrase his "baby," Wolverine, he was the very best he was at what he did.

6. JIM NABORS

Behind that hick persona and his beloved character Gomer Pyle (which grew out of a cabaret act) was a multi-talented performer with an operatic singing voice. From his annual performance of "Back Home Again In Indiana" at the Indianapolis 500 to his regular appearances on THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, Jim, one of the earliest gay performers to come out and an honorary Marine Corps seargant, among his many accomplishments, was an all-around entertainer and a truly great American. Golllly, will he be missed!

5. HUGH M. HEFNER

Called everything from "The Walt Disney of sex" to "Mr. Playboy" to names best not quoted here, "Hef" launched an empire which was equally praised and assaulted for its approach to sophisticated men's entertainment, including the wildly successful Playboy Club concept, which launched the careers of such famous "Bunnies" as punk rocker Deborah Harry, Hanna-Barbera voice actress B.J.Ward, and actress/writer/entrepeneur Kathryn Leigh Scott, among others. Through the pages of his signature magazine, PLAYBOY, Hef introduced an often-imitated-never-duplicated approach to magazine interviews, fiction by authors such as Philip Roth and Ray Bradbury, and superstars such as Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy, who acknowledged that Hef DID use her, but she also used  HIM as a steppingstone to bigger and better things. To paraphrase cover copy written by Stan Lee, some loved Hef, others hated him, but one thing remains: Nobody will ever forget him.

4. ERIC McCORMICK AND DEBRA MESSING a/k/a WILL TRUMAN AND GRACE ADLER

If any show REALLY needed a reboot in  Trumpmerica, it was WILL AND GRACE. The platonic pair, flanked by Megan Mullaly as the loud and proud Karen and Sean Hayes as "JUST JACK!", not only celebrate the LGBTQ population, but also America as a whole as a place of freedom, and are not afraid to throw vocal pies in the face of Mr. Trump and those who support him. If I may borrow a line  from their recent Christmas show, "Peace on Earth, goodwill and grace!"

3. HOUSTON ASTROS

They didn't only win the World Series, they won the hearts of their hometown fans and people, not just baseball fans, around the country, and, possibly the world, as proof that the people of Houston are resilient and not going to let a silly little thing like a hurricane stand in their way. Not just the eyes of Texas, but the eyes of the world were upon them, and we liked what we saw! Congratulations to the 'Stros in general and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Co-Sportsman Of The Year Jose Altuve on stepping up to the plate in more ways than one!

2. ALYSSA MILANO

She may no longer be part of the witching Charmed Ones, but she still has power as a major advocate of woman's rights, an actress, a mom, and a businesswoman. Who's the Boss? After reading your tweets and hearing about your accomplishments in the #MeToo movement, you are, 'Lyssa! (In honor of the Power Of Three that held the Charmed Ones together, this blog will donate three dollars to UNICEF for whose benefit Alyssa recorded the classic "We Need The Children.")

And now, we're up to the nicest newsmaker of the year, and a real life fairy tale beyond the wildest dreams of Walt Disney, the Brothers Grimm, or anybody else.

Once upon a time in a kingdom far, far away, August 4, 1981 in Los Angeles, California, to be exact, Rachel Meghan Markle was born to an Emmy-winning Caucasian lighting director and an African-American social worker.Clearly, this was no Cinderella story in the traditional sense as her parents were divorced. When she was only 11 years old, she successfully persuaded Ivory Snow to change a commercial she viewed as sexist and was the subject of a Linda Ellerbee interview on NICK NEWS.In 2003, she graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor's degree in theater and international studies, and ten years later,she told VOGUE magazine that despite running short of credits to complete her junior year.She began her run in show business as an extra on GENERAL HOSPITAL and ultimately became a "suitcase girl" on the game show DEAL OR NO DEAL and a guest on CSI:NY, CENTURY CITY, and THE WAR AT HOME, but her breakout role was as Rachel (ironically enough) Zane on the USA series SUITS, which was filmed in Toronto, ON, where she met Prince Harry on a blind date a mutual friend had set up in 2016. After an unexpectedly smooth courtship,  Clarence House announced in November of 2017 that they would marry in May 2018 at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, thus making her only the second American and first mixed-race woman to marry a British woman. Although the wedding is,unlike others, not a bank holiday, it will, no doubt, have a positive effect on women in particular and the world in general. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry of Wales, we now pronounce you our Steve's Blog Nicest Newsmaker Of 2017, and, in your honor, we will divide US $20 between the Invictus Games Foundation,the HALO Trust, the London Marathon Charitable Trust, and Walking With The Wounded. We wish you nothing but the best, and that you live happily ever after.

And there you have 'em, the Top 10 Naughtiest and Nicest Newsmakers of the year ending December 7, 2017.We would like to thank Bettijane L. Eisenpreis, Alice Steinberg, Scott Shannon, Patty Steele, Kaitlin Monte, Scott Menville, and especially Louie Pulice for their support (We WOULD like to thank Matt Lauer, but for, obvious reasons, THAT is out of the question!) over the past year, and of course, we would like to thank you, our readers, because without you I would be playing to an empty room, and who wants that? We continue to thank our troops, police officers, and first responders around the world for their efforts in the defense of freedom. Until, January 2018, when once again we will cover the world from our own unique perspective,  keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
HAPPY HANNUKAH!
GOOD KWANZAA!

Steve out!


Monday, November 27, 2017

209 Santa Steve's Naughty List

Hello, everybody, (Especially BOSTON 25 NEWS!) and welcome to Santa Steve's Naughty List, the first of two year-end specials that count down the best and worst newsmakers of 2017. Last year there was no list (for reasons that escape me!), but in 2015, ISIS got the lump of coal and our winner was the patron saint of super heroes, his birth certificate calls him Stanley Martin Lieber, but fans all over the world know him as Smiling STAN LEE. Who gets to ride in the sleigh and who should remember to be good for goodness sake? There's only one way to find out: Line em 'up and count 'em down!

DISHONORABLE MENTION Me Again

Why do I keep messing up? I promise, this year's list is well worth waiting for!

10.  MARK HALPERIN

To use the title of his now-defunct daily political analysis show, modeled on ESPN's PARDON THE INTERRUPTION, With All Due Respect,sir, the Anti-Hannity I had a nice conversation with regarding the also-now-defunct POLITICS LIVE show on the similarly-now-defunct ABC NewsNOW channel, has been swallowed up by a perverted sicko. Although I remember your irreverence and inability to take yourself seriously, I'm happy your name is absent from Bloomberg TV and MSNBC, and I hope it stays that way until you straighten  up and fly right.

9. CHARLIE ROSE

From CBS and PBS to just plain BS in nothing flat!

8. JUDGE ROY MOORE

I'd like to see Less of Moore!

7. PLANET FITNESS

Some great Judgement-Free Zone YOU are! You just instituted a dress code, ordered guests who were required to cover their heads to take off their burquas, yamulkles and whatnot and employ snarky trainers. If that isn't judgemental, I don't know what is!

6. KELLYANNE CONWAY

You went on MEET THE PRESS and gave Chuck Todd what you called "alternate facts." Now, is it just me, or is your nose just a few inches longer?

5. PEOPLE WEEKLY

Blake Shelton is the Sexiest Man Alive. Yeah, right. And the Easter Bunny brings fireworks at Christmas. What are George Clooney and Brad Pitt, CHOPPED LIVER? Don't get me wrong, I love Blake as a country music performer, but he just doesn't strike me as Sexiest Man Alive material.

4. TIME INC.

You sold out to Meredith Corporation with the blessings of the Koch Brothers who claim they WON'T stick their noses into TIME magazine's reporting. One word: HA!

3. SINCLAIR BROADCASTING

For the love of cheese, PLEASE don't buy the Tribune Broadcasting stations, including New York's Very Own PIX 11 ! Google would be a WAAAAY better owner!

2. DONALD J.TRUMP

WHY does the Trumpster only rate second place? Because FIRST PLACE is the sole province of...

CHARLES MANSON

He put the SICK in the SIXTIES! Give my best to Hitler, Eichmann, Sadaam, and all those other "sweethearts!" Ding,dong, the madman's gone!

Opinions expressed are mine alone, just so you know. Last time the incredible Stan Lee smashed his way to the title of Nicest Newsmaker. Who exercised their great power with great responsibility THIS year? The answer awaits you in our next Stevetastic episode, or, in the immortal words of Mr. T, "I said BE THERE!"

SLE