Monday, December 9, 2013

#86 Santa Steve's Nice List

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...


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!


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, 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!


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!


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!


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


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


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...


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 .

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


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