In case you've just dug out of the snow that has paralyzed much of the country, or your holiday shopping has taken you out of the loop, the two Naughtiest Newsmakers of 2013 are Borat and Borat (I STILL refuse to dignify them by writing their real names!), the terrorists who almost turned America's birthday into a nightmare and instead chose to wreak havoc on the Boston Marathon.As this is Number 86, I can think of no better way to eighty-six 2013 than with a countdown of the Nicest Newsmakers of the year gone by. Understandably, I am not donating ONE RED CENT to ANYBODY in DIS-honor of those two idiots, but this year, I am making donations to two different charities in honor of the Nicest Newsmaker AND his runner-up! (Sorry, I'm not trying to be sexist, I'm trying to get you to stay tuned!) This blog will resume in 2014, although I'm not ruling out the occasional breaking news event. I would like to thank all my readers in the USA,especially Bettijane Eisenpreis,Gretchen Muller and Judy Wilder, for your continued support,Nicole Vranzanian for suggesting this blog in the first place, Google for putting up with my nonsense, and China,Canada,the UK, Serbia,Germany, and France for stopping by! (As for the Ukraine, if you can't say anything nice...)
And now, without any further ado, (I just used up my supply of ado!) THE TOP TEN NICEST NEWSMAKERS OF 2013!
HONORABLE MENTION The New York Police Department
You keep putting your lives on the line so we can live ours in peace. This is a natural segue into...
10. BILL BRATTON
When he was Commish, he changed New York from Crime City back to Fun City. Now that Mayor-Elect Bill DeBlasio has given him his job back, it's more than likely that the Big Apple will remain the safest large city in the world. (But for how long? Dum-dum-DUMMMMMMMMMM!)
The "e" may be silent, but this lovely New Zealander sure isn't! Her first worldwide megahit, "Royals," is the perfect antidote to all those rappers who have regaled us with tales of their stretch limos, champagne, and high-profile paramours! She may not be a material girl,but she sure isn't Miley either, and we can all be thankful for that!
8. THE NOT-READY-FOR-PRIME-TIME PLAYERS
This current iteration of the Saturday Night Live gang has made us take ourselves a little less seriously with their parodies of everything from Al Sharpton to people who try to get in the holiday spirit three weeks early, which includes just about everybody!
For seven years, he co-anchored WABC-TV Channel 7 Eyewitness News on the weekends and he was dispatched to the scene of important breaking stories. As he returns to his native Boston to anchor WCVB NewsCenter 5, this blog joins his many viewers who thank him for his selfless commitment to his craft and his participation in our community and wishes him the best of luck. The Marathon taught me how to respect the resillience of the people of Boston, and, although I hate to admit it, that town is a better fit for him.Good luck, Phil! We're leaving the door WIDE open for you!
HONORABLE MENTION David Murphy (and David Murphy)
This guy is one of my Twitter followers, and as a proud resident of Delaware County, PA, has served as a weatherman with 6abc Action News in Philly for twenty years,which was why I couldn't believe what I heard one morning during my recent trip there. I know he's a sports fan, and we sports fans do tend to make analogies in sports terms, like saying a certain candidate is "down for the count" or that Carrie Underwood's performance on THE SOUND OF MUSIC (More on that later!) was a "home run," but I was worried that he pulled a Phil Lipof just as soon as I came in when he said, matter of fact-ly,"I have been traded to Cleveland." I was both shocked over the announcement and happy that he was going to the home of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and Progressive Field, (I would have loved to have seen a publicity shot of him with a Flo walkabout!) but then he pressed a button on the Action News Big Board,
(the large screen monitor they use for weather and entertainment stories) and a sports story right off 6abc.com, reporting that David Murphy OF THE TEXAS RANGERS had been traded to Cleveland! I later tweeted, "Good luck in Cleveland!" and added LOL and a little smiley face. He replied, "Hope I'm not riding the bench!" Here's wishing David Murphy and David Murphy a very Merry Christmas!
6. MARIANO RIVERA
This New York Yankee pitcher was called the Sandman because he put opposing batters to sleep. We Yankee fans were always wide awake and giving him a standing O every time he came to the hill. Mr. Sandman, thanks for bringing New York five World Series dreams and good luck on your retirement!
5. CARRIE UNDERWOOD
Contrary to popular belief, country singers CAN sing Broadway! Cases in point, Reba McEntire who filled Bernadette Peters' king-size cowboy boots in the revival of "Annie Get Your Gun," and a former
Oklahoma school teacher named Carrie Underwood who played Maria vonTrapp, the mother of the famous Austrian musical family, in NBC's live TV production (the first live presentation of a musical in 50 years!)of Rodgers and Hammerstein's heart-warming THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Although she doesn't quite live up to the standards Julie Andrews set as an actress,she stands on her own merits, although she truly shines the brightest as a singer. From American Idol to governess. Not too shabby!
Kudos also to Laura Bennanti who has finally shed her image as the Bunny Mother on NBC's late, largely unlamented account of life at THE PLAYBOY CLUB with her witty portrayal of Captain vonTrapp's fiance Elsa, especially on her two major numbers, "How Can Love Survive?" and "No Way To Stop It." Rainn Wilson,formerly of THE OFFICE,tweeted to his old boss,"If you need a Pippin,I'm ready!" Bring it on, O Peacock,although it will no doubt pale in comparison to THE SOUND OF MUSIC!
4. MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
The World's Most Famous Arena finally completed its transformation, and it looks better than ever with a brand new lobby, HD video displays, and a state of the art scoreboard, as well as monthly concerts from
3. BILLY JOEL,
the first Artist-In-Residence in the more-than-150-year history of the Garden as well as any arena in the world. New York's Piano Man has become MSG's fourth franchise (after the Rangers, Knicks and Liberty), and the Big Shot is about to get HUGE! I had the pleasure to meet Billy and his then-wife Christie Brinkley at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1992, and with him,what you see is CERTAINLY what you get! It couldn't happen to a nicer guy!
And now, we're up to our Top Two Nicest Newsmakers of 2013. For reasons I will explain later, I am making a donation in both their names to We Can Be Heroes, an initiative of DC Comics dedicated to fighting hunger in the Horn Of Africa. For more information on this initiative, and how it can win you cool DC Super Hero merchandise, log onto http://www.dccomics.com.
Holy Wish Fulfillment, Batman! Move over, Robin, the Caped Crusader has a new sidekick in five-year-old Miles Scott, a cancer survivor currently in remission who wished to fight crime alongside his hero. Make-A-Wish and local San Francisco businesses got together to turn the beautiful City By The Bay into dark and gritty Gotham City (no rhyme intended) and mild-mannered Miles became Batkid, untying a damsel in distress from the cable car tracks, freeing the Baseball Giants' mascot, and protecting the populace from the likes of the Joker, Penguin and Riddler. For showing us that we, as David Bowie sang, all can be heroes if only for a day, Miles Scott is our SECOND Nicest Newsmaker of 2013, and a donation will also be made in his name to the Make-A-Wish Foundation so more terminally ill children can realize their dreams.
I'd also like to send a shout out to Debby Ryan of Disney's JESSIE (She plays a musician trying to make it in New York who works as a live-in nanny.) for proving that Disney stars CAN be well-adjusted, normal people!
BUT, it's time to unveil the Nicest Newsmaker of 2013, and the award GOES TO...
1.NELSON ROLIHLALA MANDELA (1918-2013)
True, Nelson Mandela was no saint. He was divorced, branded a terrorist, imprisoned, maybe more like one of Shakespeare's characters than Batman or Superman, but he brought down the corrupt government of South Africa and helped turn one of the biggest countries in Africa into a true democracy as its first duly elected President.For making Doctor King's Dream a reality and uniting a house divided, "Madiba" is the (posthumous) STEVE'S BLOG NICEST NEWSMAKER OF 2013.In addition to making a donation in his name to We Can Be Heroes to end the hunger crisis in his beloved continent of Africa,I celebrate his special relationship with New York by also donating in his name to the Garden Of Dreams Foundation, Madison Square Garden's charitable arm dedicated to funding after-school sports and cultural programs for the disadvantaged kids of New York. For more information, visit http://www.gardenofdreamsfoundation.org .
And so we bring to a close the first calendar year of Steve's Blog. Once again, thank you to all our readers coast to coast and around the world. Barring any unforseen circumstances (including breaking news stories) we will be back on or about January 2,2014. I hope our Jewish friends had a happy Chanukah, and I hope the rest of you have a Good Kwanzaa, a Happy Solstice, and, OF COURSE, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Hmmm, let's see. I counted down the Naughty Newsmakers, I counted down the Nice Newsmakers, I announced my donations, I thanked the readers, guess there's one thing left to do.
Roses are red,violets are blue.
This blog is over, so it's