Sunday, August 30, 2015

Steve's First (And Probably Last) Joke Blog

My last two blogs were sooooooooooo serious, I've decided to lighten the mood with a few jokes. (Don't worry, this blog is rated PG!)

Why does Misty Copeland wear a tutu?
The one-one was too small and the three-three was too big.

What did Taylor Swift say when she passed up the classical music tickets?
We are never, ever, ever, getting Bach together.

If you're American when you go into the bathroom and you're American when you leave the bathroom, what are you when you're in the bathroom?
European.

Why did the dog wear a sweater?
It was a chilli dog.

Why are they pirates?
They just arrrrgh.

Speaking of pirates, this pirate walks into a bar with a paper towel on his head. His old bud looks at him and says, "Yo, Blackbeard, wassup with that towel?" He replied, "Arrrrgh, I've a Bounty on me head!"

This frog needed money and so he took his prized lamp to the bank where he met Loan Officer Patricia Mack. He asked her for a loan and he would gladly use the lamp for collateral. She gave him a long, quizzical look. He replied, "It's a knick-knack, Patty Mack, give a frog a loan!"

Why did the Stupid Guy put his money in a circle?
He wanted to make ends meet!

THE STUPID GUY BECAME A STUPID DOCTOR AND HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED:

"Doctor Stupid Doctor, everybody ignores me!"
The Stupid Doctor said, "NEXT!"

"Doctor Stupid Doctor, my ear keeps ringing."
The Stupid Doctor said, "Get an unlisted ear."

Knock Knock!
Who's There?
Jon Stewart.
Jon Stewart who?
How soon they forget!

For now, friends, the Blog is (mercifully) over. Have a happy Labor Day and GO IN PEACE!
Steve out!

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Tale of Three Lives

Chapter One: A LIFE WELL-LIVED (AND CELEBRATED!)

I know a lot of people are going to diss me for blabbing about this all over the interwebs, but my mother Bettijane L. Eisenpreis, without whom there wouldn't be a Steve, let alone a Steve's Blog, hit the Big Eight-Oh on August 6th. We WERE going to celebrate in Paris, but the brown stuff hit the air conditioner after Charlie Hebdo published those cartoons, so we changed it to Vancouver, BC. Unfortunately, the poop hit the air conditioner AGAIN when she suffered a heart attack, but since we're part of a long line of New York Yankee fans, (Cousin Sarah converted from the Phillies,my Pop used to have me over every weekend to watch the game, my Dad, the late, great Alfred Eisenpreis, helped the then-Principal Owner of the Yanks,Mr. George M. Steinbrenner, turn the crumbling 1926 Yankee Stadium into a more modern facility,and my Mom was born in Wilkes-Barre,PA, currently the home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders, one of the Yanks' better minor league teams.) I asked her if I could take her out to the ball game on the 6th. After all, it WAS Umbrella Night,and who doesn't need an umbrella? She declined, but I persisted and suggested NYY Steak on 51st and Fifth, one of three such-named Yankee-owned steakhouses. (The other two are at Yankee Stadium and in Florida.) She approved, and at 7:05 PM, which happened to be first pitch of the game, we met at NYY to celebrate her birthday and see the Bronx Bombers clobber their perennial nemesis, the Boston Red Sox. (Reader's Digest report on my Boston trip:, Saw the Sox whoop the Astros, watched a great Boston Pops fireworks show featuring Billy Joel's protege, Michael Cavanaugh, heard a stirring Liberty Address from CBS 4's Lisa Hughes, and saw the USA Women's Soccer Team win the World Cup over Japan in City Hall Plaza and was interviewed by FOX 25. But,as they say, I digress.) I gave her a whole slew of great presents including an OFFICIAL Yankee jersey, (She is now Number 80 on the Yankee roster and Number 1 in your hearts.), and since NYY is a classy place and not your average sports bar, they have the TV on mute and the captions off, which was a problem since I like to read them aloud like a script and impersonate the talent. But, since they were off, I decided to just play it naturally and tell her what was going on with the game (Even the weather!) in my own voice, and I admit it, I'm no Howard Cosell, but she loved my play-by-play almost as much as she loved the steak. I told her that we were going to take this slow, like a traditional game at the House That Ruth Built, but a half-hour later, she decided to visit the room of the miniature maidens, and I asked my server to "call in the closer," in this case, the birthday cake. The  server informed me that although she got my message that my mom was celebrating a big birthday, they had all but suspended birthday parties. BUUUUUUT, the manager decided to make an exception and stick a candle on a chocolate cake. The manager rewarded my efforts by giving us two tickets to the following night's game at Yankee Stadium. Not what I expected, but not too shabby! (Unfortunately, the Yanks went on to lose that game to Toronto, but we had great seats near Monument Park, where plaques honoring the Yanks of the past are located. To summarize: Total Cost of Dinner for Two People=$120. An Unforgettable Evening=Priceless. To list all my Mom's accomplishments would take another blog, but celebrating them all was sooooooooo worth it!

Chapter Two: TWO LIVES CUT SHORT

Wednesday, August 26 was just another day in the small city of Roanoke,VA.  WDBJ 7 reporter Allison Parker, renowned as a "rock star" reporter, had just finished interviewing Vicki Gardner, director of the South Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce for the "Mornin'"show with her cameraman, Adam Ward, recording the event for prosperity, when, without warning, a gunman approached and shot Allison and Adam, who died on the scene,as Roanoke watched in horror. (Fortunately, Vicki only sustained minor injuries and she is expected to make a full recovery.) They perished at the hands of fired WDBJ ex-employee Vester Lee Flanagan, who reported under the name Bryce Williams until his unceremonious departure in 2013. "Williams" had frequent encounters with Allison who said she would "swing by." He misconstrued that phrase, which is common, as racist, and as he told ABC News in a rambling confessional which he faxed to the network's New York headquarters, he was influenced by the Charleston tragedy and worshipped the Columbine gunmen. Police were convinced this shooting was just a small part of a larger game plan when they found wigs and costumes in his car some time after he died of accidentally self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Allison, born Allison Bailey Parker, was remembered for her youthful joie de vivre as evidenced by her Facebook page.
She loved dark characters like Don Draper (MAD MEN) and Walter White (BREAKING BAD) and she couldn't wait for the new season of HOUSE OF CARDS. She grew up in Martinsville, VA and attended James Madison University and Patrick Henry Community College. She had just moved in with 11 PM anchor Chris Hurst and they were looking forward to their upcoming marriage, as were Adam and his intended, WDBJ producer Melissa Ott. Adam was a proud Hokie, or alum of Virginia Tech, and like his friend, was Virginia born and raised.It is a shame that these young people, with so much to look forward to, were cut down in their twenties by such a twisted individual. Now, I don't care who you are or whether you are a card-carrying NRA member or not, but I had to be shielded from the horror of that Dark Day in Dallas when John Fitzgerald Kennedy took his last ride and I remember when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy, and John Lennon were similarly cut down and when Ronald Reagan's and Gabrielle Giffords' lives were inextricably altered by a madman who got ahold of a gun.
I have had the pleasure to know journos who run towards disaster while everybody else runs away and put their lives on the line just to tell a story. Needless to say, they are all alright, "Up right and respirating," as my friend Todd Pettengill likes to say. I wish Allison and Adam were so lucky. (Ironically, I also had a friend named Adam, Adam Joseph Beckman to be exact, and although we wanted to be bestest best buds, it didn't always work out that way. Still, we were together for a long time, and he always had an interest in theatre. He tried to make a prop with kerosene, but at the cost of his life. Although he didn't believe in God, I hope he knows peace now.)
Allison and Adam, if you read this all the way up in Heaven, could you say Hi to Lisa Colagrossi and tell her that with the Rangers' hockey season about to start at the Garden, Henrik Lundquist, Sam Rosen and Joe Michelletti, and Margot Robbie, Adam Sandler, and everybody else on Celebrity Row misses her? Also, could you please say Hi to Frank Gifford for me? As far as I'm concerned, once a Giant, always a Giant.
As for you, Bryce Williams or Vestor Flanagan or whatever you call yourself, I hope you burn to a crisp in The Bad Place.
Until next time, this is your announcer reminding you to stop hatin' and start participatin'. After all, we're the only human race we've got!
Steve out..
Allison Parker, and Adam Ward, Rest In Peace.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Selling of Big Bird And How It Could Have Been Prevented (Or, At Least Improved)

After 45 years as a free-to-air public television program initially designed to educate pre-school children in impoverished areas, SESAME STREET, through its producers Sesame Workshop, and HBO have signed a landmark agreement wherin all new episodes of the Street will be initially broadcast on the mostly adult-oriented pay-television channel before appearing on PBS nine months later.

HELLOOOOO, Sesame Workshop, anybody at home in those brains which were supposed to be enhanced by the trail-blazing program from whence comes your name? You guys are on cable right now. In case you've forgotten, off-network SS repeats are currently aired on Comcast NBC Universal's Sprout, which recently beat Disney, Nick and Cartoon Network to be voted THE NUMBER ONE KIDS' BRAND, and they did it thanks to programming dedicated to basically the same concepts as the Street. (BTW, check out "Nina's World," featuring a character from Sprout's "Good Night Show" depicted as a girl growing up in El Barrio. The voice cast includes my CWPF Rita Moreno as Nina's abuela (grandma), and Michele Lepe, the actress-singer who plays Nina on the Good Night Show, is the creator and executive producer.  Sounds like must see TV for kids (or as the network calls 'em, Sproutlets) of all ages! Stay tuned for more details as they become available!) Sprout would be a better fit for SESAME STREET on so many levels: Not only would it continue to run on Sprout, but there would also be a reunion with Sprout's corporate sibling, NBC, where "This Way to Sesame Street," a preview special, aired in the weeks leading up to the Street's November 1969 debut. On weekends, Sprout airs many of its popular shows in the NBC Kids block, and SESAME STREET would be a natural choice for an anchor show. Talentwise, many SNLers have dropped by the Street, but it would be fun if a lot more NBC prime time stars stopped by to poke a little good clean fun at themselves while teaching the important things. (How about Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie interviewing the Cookie Monster, for example?) Also, such great comedy writers for the grown-up comedy shows on NBC, including Colin Jost, Fred Arminsen, and, OF COURSE, Seth Meyers, could contribute bits.

And it doesn't end there. Universal Pictures could produce more family-friendly movies in the tradition of "Follow That Bird," "Cinderelmo," and "Elmo in Grouchland," and Universal Theme Parks could run Sesame Place (in Langhorne, PA) and produce Sesame Street-related entertainment for its parks in Hollywood and Orlando and add a special attraction to the NBC Studio Tour at Rockefeller Center. (Since Disney is now the owner of Marvel, a complete move for Spidey, Cap and the other characters who currently "live" on Marvel Super Hero Island at Uni in Florida away from the Uni parks isn't out of the question. New Sesame Places in those parks would be a no-brainer!)

So, Sesame Workshop, the bottom line is, YOUR bottom line could have been improved without complaints about how you joined the one percent, and everybody, including your loyal PBS viewers, (who would probably receive your original episodes in weeks, not months) would be the richer for it.

This blog has been brought to you by the letters S,L, and E (as in Steven Long Eisenpreis, your humble servant) and the number 30. (as in, That's it! I'm out!)

P.S.: I am a proud shareholder of Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, including Sprout and related entities.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: Last Bell for Hot Rod

On July 31,2015, Roderick George Toombs, better known as WWE superstar Rowdy Roddy Piper, died in his sleep after a heart attack at his Los Angeles residence.. He leaves behind a wife, Kitty, four children, four grandchildren, and four decades of memories. The rest of the world knew him as the villain you loved to hate, I knew him as one heck of a nice guy. I had the pleasure to meet him at "the mecca of professional wrestling," Madison Square Garden, but not in the squared circle, (I wouldn't have lasted five minutes against him! LOL) but, instead, at the Comic Art Convention, which was staged in 2000 and 2002 at the World's Most Famous Arena's Exposition Rotunda. He began his stellar wrestling career in 1973 with Verne Gagne's legendary American Wrestling Association before joining the National Wrestling Alliance ("The Major Leagues of Professional Wrestling!") in 1975  where he fought Mexican lucha libre legend Chavo Guerrero and his family, and  eventually moving on to Jim Crockett's Georgia Chamipionship Wrestling where he went mano-a-mano against legends such as Bob Backlund, ,Sgt.Slaughter,Nature Boy Ric Flair,Playboy Buddy Rose, and Gregg "The Hammer" Valentine.

When the mid-80's reared their Mullet-wearing head, Vince McMahon coaxed Piper back into the squared circle where he faced his greatest battle in a tag team match with Cowboy Bob Orton against the team of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. After a few years as an antagonist, both in the ring and on his own show, Piper's Pit,Piper left to pursue an acting career which resulted in a string of cult favorites, including John Carpenter's "They Live!" ("I came here to kick butt and chew gum. AND I'M ALL OUT OF GUM.") Eventually, Piper returned to the ring to settle the score with "The Million Dollar Man," Ted diBiasi,Jerry "The King" Lawler,and Dustin "Gold Dust" Runnels, among others.

Piper worked with the now-defunct Xcitement (sic) Wrestling Federation as well as WCW, where he caught up with his old nemesis, Hulk Hogan, who turned from "baby face" (good guy) to "heel" (bad guy) and started his own clique, the nWo (New World Order) with fellow ex-WWE-ites Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. To counter the nWo's influence, Piper started a clique of HIS own, ICON, short for I Cower Over Nothing.

In 2003, Hulk had been banned from wrestling in the WWE under his own name, and Piper returned to fall victim to the Hulkster's masked alter ego, Mr. America.After a period of self-examination, during which he questioned everything including his involvement with drugs, Piper joined Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 and continued to wrestle and provide color commentary on a regular basis until just this year. (Fans of Cartoon Network's irreverent Adult Swim show "Robot Chicken" are sure to recognize his inimitable voice in a few bits.)

Even in death, Piper managed to steal the spotlight from his longtime rivals. The Mid-Atlantic Wrestling League was supposed to have dedicated its annual dinner to the memory of "The American Dream," Dusty Rhodes, but as news of his passing broke, they changed their focus to Piper and his own extraordinary career.

Love him or hate him, we will miss him.

(I KNOW, I KNOW, I PROMISED A WHOLE LOT OF STUFF! I WILL GET TO IT, JUST HOLD YOUR HORSES, 'KAY?)

Steve out.

Monday, June 29, 2015

3.15 BREAKING NEWS: NBC To Trump: You're Fired!

For years. I thought Donald Trump was the closest thing New York had to Walt Disney. Both guys had their names on real estate even though they didn't plan it that way at first (Walt wanted to name his Anaheim park after Mickey and the Donald wanted to name his tower after Tiffany's.),and took us to places beyond our wildest dreams (Walt told us stories of Fairy Tale Land, worlds under the sea years before Ariel swam across movie screens worldwide, and South America, through the dazzling cartoons that resulted from his goodwill visits, and the Don took us to his opulent casino-hotels.) every week on TV, but while Walt came across as the favorite uncle with a gentle sense of humor, the Don, despite his love of America and all things New York, comes across as a big baby who keeps crying every time he doesn't get his way, the latest example being the comments he made as  he announced his Presidential candidacy. (ICYMI, he made some comments about Mexico, his fellow Republicans, and his objection to the upcoming Girl-Powerful remake of GHOSTBUSTERS.)

NBC, which has served as a broadcast home to both Walt and the Donald, and in particular, has been a partner in the Donald's Miss Universe Organization and the network carrying Donald's THE APPRENTICE, today severed all ties to the Donald. Even though I have supported the Donald (So sue me!) for the past few years, I'm seriously beginning to question my respect of him as a person. If my employer tells me to do something involving the Donald, I WILL do it, no question about that, but I might have to limit my personal visits to Trump properties such as Trump Tower. I know I have friends who still respect the Donald, and I respect THEM, but as far as I'm concerned, Donnie, old pal, YOU'RE FIRED! (Or, as Walt's best known creation would say, "See you real never!")

Coming up: Info on my trip to Boston (including a side-by-side comparison with Albany, NY) and an original story: THE MAN WHO WROTE FICTION! (Unlike Walt, I can't promise a happy ending!)

Have a glorious Fourth of July, my fellow Americans!

Steve out!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

3.14 Top of the World, Ma!

Coming to New York this Summer? There are three things you must remember:

1. Contrary to what guidebooks tell you, New Yorkers are VERY busy people, so if you want to know where such and such a place is or which train goes to such and such, call the person you want to meet, Google Search the place you want to visit for directions, or, my personal favorite, ASK A COP! (Seriously! Contrary to popular belief, our officers really care about their public and they'll be happy to help you. Heck, they know this city better than we do! We just live here!

2. Metrocards and taxis are ideal for getting around.

3. (AND THIS IS CRUCIAL!) Do NOT miss the One World Observatory on West Plaza at One World Trade Center (285 Fulton Street) at the corner of West and Vesey Streets in Lower Manhattan.This amazing attraction (brought to you by Legends, a joint venture of the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys) JUST opened, and tickets are going like hotcakes! (Your best bet is http://www.oneworldobservatory.com .) After you brave the LOOOOOONG lines, you take an escalator to the lower level where you hear personal testimonies from people who helped rebuild Tower One, as One WTC is officially known in a beautiful multi-media presentation. After a walk through an underground tunnel, a Sky Pod takes you up to the 102nd Floor IN ONLY ONE MINUTE! After witnessing the growth of New York before your very eyes, (Thank you,time lapse photography!) you move into the three floor observatory (101,102 and 103) and get a widescreen view of the Greatest City of the World as never before. (For a better experience, pick up a One World Explorer iPad. It'll set you back a few extra bucks, but it's so worth it! You can get an even closer view of the city, and little Pop-Up balloons identify certain important landmarks. If a certain balloon is in red and is decorated with an arrow, such as the Empire State Building, touch the arrow and watch an informative multimedia presentation. Although the Yankees co-own the Observatory, the Yankee Stadium and Citi Field presentations are equally informative. There's a dining area specializing in everything from fast-casual to a more relaxed experience, although nothing like the late, great Windows on the World, and helpful guides who are well-versed in everything from the Bronx to the Battery. (If you want to spend more time finding out the events of that tragic day in American and world history, I recommend the 9/11 Memorial in that same neck of the woods. For more info on THAT, visit http://www.911memorial.org . My favorite part is the video from Saturday Night Live's first show after the tragedy when then-Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani spoke about SNL's importance as a cultural institution and executive producer Lorne Michaels asked, "But can we be funny again?" Rudy did a double take and replied, "Why start now?" Whether you remember Tower One in its original glory, like I do, or you just want to find out what all the fuss is all about, One World Observatory is one place worth visiting.

Speaking of SNL, if you want to relive the history of that wild,crazy, and cherished comedy institution, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: THE EXHIBITION is the closest thing to a time machine. Located on 39th and Fifth (417 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, to be exact) this pulse-pounding presentation of Premier Exhibitions and SNL Studios takes you through a week at  NBC Studio 8H from writing to rehearsal to the finished product. Look at the costumes, relive classic sketches, and even sit on Wayne and Garth's couch, and try to tell me you're not worthy! (The highlight of the show is a special SNL show hosted by Tina Fey with musical guest Bruno Mars.) George S. Kaufman said, "Satire is what closes on Saturday night." These talented people said,"NOT!" The memories are unlimited, but the show's run isn't, so get your tickets at http://www.premierexhibitions.com ASAP!

On a more serious note, I would like to say goodbye to Beau Biden. the son of Vice-President Joe Biden who left us too soon after falling victim to brain cancer after only forty-five years on the planet.. Our sincerest condolences to the Vice-President, Dr.Jill Biden, and Beau's widow Hallie.

Also gone from Earth, but fortunately, having had a better run, is Anne Meara, who some remember as Jerry Stiller's wife, others as Ben Stiller's mom, still others as Dorothy, the wise gal neighbor on ALF. I saw her at a special function in Lower Manhattan in honor of Jerry and I told her I loved her in ALF. She replied in her own unique style, "GET A LIFE!" She may not have been proud of her work on that show but we were all proud of the laughter she left us with.

COMING SOON TO STEVE'S BOOK BLOG: Book CON?!? You Have No Idea!

Coming soon to THIS fine blog, a report on the Belmont Stakes. Can American Pharoah be a king with three crowns? Find out soon!

Until then, keep that chin up and stay good lookin'!

Steve out!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

3.13 BREAKING NEWS: Requiem For A Peacock


Alas, poor NBC. I knew it, Steve Nation, a network of infinite possibilities.

As I will chronicle in my upcoming book, I had the pleasure to craft a 92-page ode(term paper,to be exact) to the National Broadcasting Company during my tenure as a Media Arts major at Long Island University. I honored the legacy of founder David Sarnoff who clearly believed in the hard work ethic and, employing the resources of the New York Public Library, NBC, its then-parent company, RCA, Disney, and various competitors and international broadcasters, retraced its steps from radio pioneer to "The Full Color Network." As time went on, I became an investor in NBC through GE Capital and its current owner. Comcast/NBC Universal, and I continued to respect NBC's ouevre, from TODAY and NBC NIGHTLY NEWS (before Brian Williams) to SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and SEINFELD. NBC's cable networks MSNBC and CNBC each represented a different side of the political aisle, but they both continued the tradition of Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, John Chancellor, Tom Brokaw, and many others.

This year, Comcast/NBC was getting ready to acquire Time Warner Cable, spun off from its famous communications giant namesake. and explore the unlimited horizons of the digital age. Today, I was shocked to hear that after much opposition on Capitol Hill, the NBC/Time Warner merger has been tabled indefinitely, and with it, an NBC compatible with this brave new world aborning. There's another earthquake about to hit DC, and it will be caused by Sarnoff spinning in his grave. How will NBC's far-flung family, from its news networks to regional and national sports channels to its award-winning Sprout kids' channel even survive now that it has been told that it, and TWC, star-crossed lovers like Romeo and Juliet, can never live together?

Granted, they have existed as separate entities up till this point and they will continue to do well in the future, but the future of communications has been changed forever, and NOT for the good. The  NBC/Time Warner merger should not be allowed to die! It can only HELP people! The NBC Peacock's feathers deserve to shine brightly over TV screens around the world, regardless of what a few backward-thinking know-nothings have to say.

Thoughts?

Steve out!