Tuesday, December 16, 2014


PREVIOUSLY in Steve's Blog, we counted down the Naughtiest Newsmakers of  2013.

10. THE FILTHY ANIMALS (of Times Square)
and the proud owner of a lump of coal:

And the countdown continues:


These SNL alums have assumed the hosting chores of LATE NIGHT and THE TONIGHT SHOW with true professionalism. Although they each got their start as Update co-anchors (Seth opposite Amy Poehler and Jimmy opposite Tina Fey), their styles couldn't be more different. Seth's news junkie side informs LATE NIGHT as evidenced by his booking guests such as NBC anchor Brian Williams and New Yorker editor David Remnick, while music fan Jimmy likes jamming with Maroon 5 leader Adam Levine, country star Blake Shelton, and the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. Johnny Carson and Jack Parr would be proud of what these youngsters are doing on their former turf!


She had just a TOUCH of naughty, but she was a New Yorker who cared about the less fortunate and an inspiration to a new generation of young female comics. Could she talk? Could she ever!


The first newsmaker to make both lists, this time for stepping up to the plate during the Blizzard of 2014, although he DID drop the ball by allowing schools to open.


She lived up to her name with her performance as a Weekend Update anchor, and now she's going to the White House Correspondent's Dinner! Joan would be proud, and I hope she brings them to their feet! (Unlike certain actual reporters who bring them to their feet and out the door. I'm not naming names.)


At the end of the classic Mork and Mindy episode, "Mork Meets Robin Williams," Robin, in character as Mork, told his superior Orson that fame could be a blessing and a curse, and asked Orson, and us,to consider these stars who left too soon:

Janis Joplin
Jimi Hendrix
Buster Keaton
Fannie Brice
Buddy Holly
Richie Valens

and especially, John Lennon.

We can add Robin himself to this list. He could have lived a longer and happier life, but unfortunately, he left too soon. It goes without saying that he will be missed.


The hits just keep on coming from this Radio Hall of Famer! He left Hot AC station WPLJ for legendary oldies station WCBS-FM, and he hasn't sounded better than he has at his employer since March of this past year. He remains a nice guy, an irreverent observer of the world scene, and a music afficionado, with great people in his corner. He has recently honored the memory of countdown king Casey Kasem with his own weekend show, AMERICA'S GREATEST HITS, now heard on stations from coast to coast. He may no longer be the Morning Zookeeper, but Shannon is still on the prowl and sounding better than ever!

The following portion of the blog is brought to you by the number 3.


3. NBC for cancelling "A to Z" when they made it to "H is for Hostile Takeover." What the F?
2. Speaking of takeovers, HASBRO for going after DreamWorks Animation just after they signed a lucrative deal with Disney.
1. EVERYBODY IN FERGUSON,MO AND THEIR SUPPORTERS for tying up traffic,wrecking buildings, and generally going crazy just to make their point. Seriously, can't we all just get along?


Although CAPTAIN KANGAROO, the MICKEY MOUSE CLUB, and MISTER ROGERS NEIGHBORHOOD all had segments of an educational nature, they lacked that X Factor that would get kids learning and loving every minute of it and parents and teachers content in the knowledge that not only were their young charges getting ready for life in the classroom and beyond, but they were getting a quality TV program they could enjoy without guilt. Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morriset found that something extra, and forty-five years ago, SESAME STREET was born with no signs of slowing down today! While original human cast members have come and gone, Jim Henson's puppet creations continue to populate the Street with new characters, such as fairy Abby Cadabry, Murray the Monster,Minnie Mynah, and of course, Elmo, joining iconic friends such as Big Bird, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Bert, Ernie, and Prairie Dawn. Back then, the STREET was planned as a mix of the fast pace of LAUGH-IN, and the production values of television commercials, but the world was already changing at an alarming rate, and the STREET had to address charges of racism and sexism. Fortunately, a Hispanic couple (Luis and Maria) was introduced as were ethnic Muppets, and the STREET now extends through more than 100 countries and territories with co-productions in many of them. (Only one, PLAZA SESAMO from Mexico, is broadcast in the USA.) SESAME STREET is the perfect blend of education and entertainment for its pre-school target audience and sophisticated humor for the former kids. (One noteworthy example: SONS OF POETRY, which the creator of the decidedly mature original LOVES!) Since the STREET's inception, its producer, originally Children's Television Workshop and now Sesame Workshop,has created two basic reading shows, each called THE ELECTRIC COMPANY (The first one starred Bill Cosby, and see the Naughty List to find out what I think of him THESE days.), a health education show for adults called FEELING GOOD, a science show called 3-2-1 CONTACT!, a math show called SQUARE ONE TV, and a spinoff of the STREET focusing on games and exercises called PLAY WITH ME, SESAME (which has been broadcast on advertising supported channels Nick Jr. and Sprout), but none of them have had the impact of the original STREET, although PLAY WITH ME comes very close. In 45 years, SESAME STREET has gone from, "Who needs it?" to "Can't do without it!"

And now, we're up to the top two nicest newsmakers of 2014, but before we reveal them to a waiting world:



Fifty  years after the lads' Ed Sullivan debut, New York still loves him, YEAH YEAH YEAH! (I saw him in concert at the Times-Union Center in Albany, and he can still put on a show!)


These days he has been best known as Diane Sawyer's husband, but he was better known for his rich portfolio on Broadway and in Hollywood. His star shone as brightly as the actors he guided.










With those words, (Derek stipulated that nobody other than Yankee Stadium PA announcer Bob Shephard speak those words, even on tape, everytime he took the field at home.) Derek Sanderson Jeter, trusty Louisville Slugger in hand, stepped up to the plate, and consistently delivered a truly Broadway-worthy performance. Drafted out of high school in 1992 and making his major league debut in 1995, Derek played shortstop for the Yanks and ONLY the Yanks for twenty years,racking up an impressive 3465 hits and 2747 games played. He led the Yanks to five World Series championships, and became that rare kind of professional athlete, the kind respected by both home and opposing team players and fans. He has been the face of Ford Motor Company, Nike's Jordan brand, 24 Hour Fitness (including a group of 24 Hour Derek Jeter clubs in the New York area of which yours truly is a proud member), and Gatorade, to name but a few.Since hanging up the legendary Yankee Pinstripes uniform, "Jete" has founded his own publishing company, Jeter Publishing, and his own sports news site, http://www.theplayerstribune.com ,but his best-known extra-curricular activity is the charitable Turn 2 Foundation which helps children and teenagers avoid addiction and awards academic achievement. For conduct truly befitting a champion, on and off the field, Derek Jeter is Steve's Blog's Number Two Nicest Newsmaker Of 2014, and this blog donates $22 to the Turn 2 Foundation in his name.

And now, we're up to the nicest newsmaker of the year, a man who began life on the mean streets of Detroit and ended it under bizarre circumstances in Washington State, but who shared the gift of music with people of every age around the world. While other kids his age were only fantasizing about a career on the radio, Lebanese-American Kemal Amen Kasem lived the dream as he covered sports at Northwestern High School and played children on shows such as THE LONE RANGER. Kemal was later drafted and served in Korea where he spun records for the Armed Forces Radio Network. After doing his patriotic duty, he worked as a DJ for stations in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where he began to not only play the records, but talk about the artists who made them. As anti-war protests divided America and her youth began deserting clear channel AM hit music stations for progressive rock on the FM, he bucked the trend with the July 4, 1970 premiere of his nationally syndicated countdown broadcast, AMERICAN TOP 4O WITH CASEY KASEM.

Not only did Casey play the hits and talk about the stars behind them, but he also reported the top music news of the week a decade before the inception of MTV and played Long Distance Dedications for listeners who wanted to express their feelings of love for those special people in their lives, or loss for those who had left their lives never to return. For adult contemporary listeners, Casey also hosted AMERICAN HOT 20 and AMERICAN TOP 10, not to be confused with the music video countdown, AMERICA'S TOP 10.

With the countdown's success extending far beyond the borders of the 50 United States, Casey became one of the most sought-after voice artists in America, not only performing promotional duties for NBC, but also lending his talents to such characters as Shaggy Rogers in SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU? and many of its successive spinoffs, the title character in the special HERE COMES PETER COTTONTAIL, and Robin in SUPER FRIENDS.

In 1988, he left AT40 due to a contract dispute and moved from the ABC Radio Network, the show's distributor, to Westwood One, where he hosted CASEY'S TOP 40 which employed the Radio & Records chart as opposed to AT40's Billboard chart. In 1995, AT40, then hosted by Shadoe Stevens, was cancelled, and two years later, Casey regained the rights to the name, as the show moved to the AMFM network, which was soon acquired by Premiere Radio Networks. In 2009, Casey retired from AT40 .

A devoted family man, Casey had three children, Mike,Julie, and Kerri, through his first wife Linda, and one,Liberty Jean, through his second wife Jean. Casey had very strong beliefs, often at the expense of lucrative acting jobs.

In 2007, Casey was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Six years later, he was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, which robbed him of his unique vocal gifts. As his health worsened, Jean Kasem forbade any contact with the outside world, particularly with children from his first marriage.

In an almost comic series of events, Casey was removed from a Santa Monica, CA nursing home and popped up in Washington State, where he was reported to be in critical but stable condition.Judge Daniel S. Murphy ruled that he had to be fed, hydrated, and medicated as a court-appointed lawyer appointed on his status.When Casey's body did not respond to treatment, the judge allowed the family to place him on "end-of-life" measures despite Jean Kasem's objections. On June 15,2014, 82 year-old Casey Kasem's journey ended in Gig Harbor, WA. He was survived by his wife, four children and four children.

More than the way he died, Casey will be remembered for the way he lived. His was a life devoted to service to his fellow human being, and to music. He helped many acts we now take for granted get their start, and helped revitalize many other careers. Although AT-40 was the most listened to countdown show in the world, Casey could only take some of the credit despite a strong presence. He had a single, "Letter From Elaina," about a girl who had met George Harrison, but it never achieved national prominence. Although he no longer is part of our Sunday mornings, I'm sure the voice who launched a thousand careers would be happy if I said, (Drumroll please.)


1. CASEY KASEM, 1932-2014

Of the many charities Casey supported, the one he probably was the most associated with was the Muscular Dystrophy Association, since he helped Jerry Lewis on some of his many MDA telethons.
Therefore, this blog donates $100 to MDA in his memory. This blog is also affectionately dedicated to the memory of Casey Kasem.

And there you have them, the 10 naughtiest and nicest newsmakers for the year ending December 16,2014. I would like to thank Bettijane Eisenpreis, Scott Shannon, Sheila Watko, Cooper Lawrence,Patty Steele, Chelsea Duffy,(and a special shout out to Jennifer Castellano)and anybody else whose name I may have forgotten at this time for their continued support, and, of course, I would like to thank my readers around the world for THEIR continued support.

Don't miss Steve's Book, coming in 2015 to a physical or online bookstore near you!

Until January 2, 2015, when we'll do whatever the heck we've been doing,have a a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah, and a VERY Happy New Year, and keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars! AND...


As we went to press, Australia mourned the brave people who gave their lives in the cause of freedom during the terrible Sydney Siege which took place at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place, a shopping center I have had the pleasure to visit myself as well as the home of 7 Network.
My sincerest condolences to the citizens of the beautiful land Down Under, especially Kochie and Mel from the Sunrise program, Robin Bailey, and expatriate Brad Blanks and family.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Dogs and Cats, to the 2014 edition of Santa Steve's Naughty List, the first of two year-end specials wherein we count down the best and worst newsmakers of the year. ICYMI (or, In Case You Missed It), the two naughtiest newsmakers of '13 were those jerks who turned the Boston Marathon into a nightmare and the two nicest were Miles "Batkid" Scott, who upheld law and order in San Francisco thanks to Make-A-Wish, and the late,great president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Who gets the coal in their stocking and a $100 donation to charity in their name, respectively, THIS year? There's only one way to find out... LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!



Yep, the Steve in Steve's Blog. Moi. Yo. Io. Mir. I haven't been cranking out as many blogs this year as I did this year. MY BAD! I'm going to make it up to you in 2015!


They never give up, do they? I'm surprised nobody before WNBC reporter Michael Garguilo called the Times Square costumed performers in ratty Mickey Mouse, Elmo, and Spider-Man outfits "panhandlers," but if the shoe fits! They took their case to the City Council and the politicians were, understandably, underwhelmed. Their next costume should be as normal human beings with actual jobs!


What kind of New York City Mayor eats pizza with a knife and fork, shows up late for memorial services (and key media events), and wants to eliminate those iconic Central Park carriage horses? This guy.


Just when I thought her inner Hannah Montana had risen to the top when she allowed a homeless friend to accept her MTV Video Music Award in her name and deliver a tearjerking speech on the plight of homeless youth, it turns out this guy has been wanted in a few states and not wanted in all the rest! Add to that continued displays of outrageous behavior and your blogger has come to the inescapable conclusion: If Miles wants to escape her Disney past, she should stop acting Goofy!


They could have let Derek Jeter retire in true championship style with another World Series victory, but did they? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!


Get with the program, guys, and get some touchdowns, goals, and slam dunks! I'm talking to you, Giants, Knicks and Rangers!


I love the fact that you delivered the eulogy for your friend Joan Rivers at my favorite synagogue, gorgeous Congregation Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue, but did it HAVE to be so profanity-laced, Sterno? If you can rein it in for AMERICA'S GOT TALENT, surely you can tone it down at a funeral!


Why did it have to be so dang cold this past summer and so dang warm in the last few weeks? As a citizen of Manhattan, I naturally have a preference over Buffalo, but what happened to them shouldn't happen to a dog! Go snow in somebody else's city!


I haven't heard your TODAY show musical yet, but based on your sparkling track record with your Broadway musical based on the life of Aimee Semple McPhereson, Sondheim has NOTHING to worry about!


On the late, unlamented Sesame Workshop-produced health show FEELING GOOD, (Full disclosure: My cousin Bob Bendick, who also worked on TODAY, was the producer for this well-intentioned turkey.) Bill Cosby attempted to show his basketball prowess, and legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell commented,"William Henry Cosby, Junior. You call yourself a comedian. How accurate that description after that laughable excuse for a slam dunk." Equally laughable is how well Cos is attempting to  live up to his America's Dad image after recent allegations of molestation. I used to be a big fan of this guy. I saw him at Radio City Music Hall during his reign as King Of Thursday Night and at Kaufmann Astoria Studios for his shortlived Americanization of the British comedy "One Foot In The Grave," and watch his many TV projects, especially FAT ALBERT AND THE COSBY KIDS. He just eliminated any respect I still had for his extensive body of work. I can't repeat exactly what SNL Weekend Update anchor Michael Che said to Cos who has chastised African-American men on their lewd and lascivious behavior, but, at the risk of sounding racist, talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

And the absolute, WORST newsmaker of 2014 is...


We WILL kick your butt!



Steve's Mega- Movie Blog


While Disney may have invented many entertainment types we now take for granted, it can't claim credit for the TV movie, but in instances such as HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 1 and 2, CADET KELLY, JUMP IN!, and ZENON: GIRL OF THE 23RD CENTURY and its "zequel," it certainly perfected it. Add to this roster HOW TO BUILD A BETTER BOY, a teen comedy/action drama starring Kelli Berglund, no stranger to this genre, as Mae Hartley,the daughter of a video game designer (Or so she's been told!), and China Anne McClain as her bestie, Gabby Harrison. As our story begins, Mae tries to make Jaden Stark (Noah Centineo), the star QB, love math as much as he does football, but she does NOT...GO...ALL..THE...WAY! That night, Mae and Gabby hack into Dad's equipment. They THINK they're creating the perfect virtual video game boyfriend, but little did they know that Dear Old Dad actually works for THE PENTAGON and their Mr. Right is actually THE PROTOTYPE OF A SERIES OF SUPER SOLDIER ROBOTS! Kelli brings her expertise from Disney XD's LAB RATS wherin she plays Bree Davenport, one of a family of bionic heroes who just HAPPEN to live in the basement of an average American boy  and his reporter mom, and while she and China (A.N.T FARM, short for "Advanced Natural Talent") are clearly the central characters as is Albert, the Better Boy, (Marshall Williams), Ieva Lucs steals the show as Major Jenks, a love-starved soldier who never went to a prom and must live vicariously through Mae. While Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door, " the Mouse is clearly building better movies, especially HOW TO BUILD A BETTER BOY. See if your cable company has the WATCH DISNEY CHANNEL app or see if you can get Disney Channel On Demand, but SEE IT! (BTW, China's vocal talents are on display on A.N.T. FARM, but check out Marshall and Kelli's duet on fellow Disney star Selena Gomez' "Love You Like A Love Song.")


I'm not going to use the derogatory terms associated with two certain Disney characters to describe this attempted reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action franchise, but they certainly apply. Those who paid close attention to the last three live-action TMNT movies may recall that the boys were actually animated by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, and anybody who remembers the man knows that anything attatched to his name has to meet certain standards of quality. This "cowa-bummer" misses those standards by a country mile and is a pizza...nuff said.


Don't believe the hype. It should be called Bird Poop.


DO believe the hype on this one! This Disney delight takes this parody of/tribute to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and other Japanese super heroes (based on the Marvel comic SUNFIRE AND BIG HERO 6 by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Roleau) to new heights! Inventor Hiro, loose cannon Go Go, Valley Girl Honey Lemon,comic relief Wasabi, slacker Fred, and robot Baymax combine to fight evil in the hybrid future town of San Fransokyo and gain the super power of friendship. Big Hero is a big hit!


If you find this alleged dramedy starring Tina Fey and Connie Britton (NASHVILLE) among others, leave it.


This wonderful, beautiful, not bad, very good adaptation of Judith Viorst's picture book is a laugh riot from opening credits to end titles, although it DOES dwell heavily on our hero's planned departure to Australia. (Some days I can't say I blame him!) Jennifer Garner and Steve Carrell steal the show as Mom and Dad, Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke puts in a great performance trying to read a kids' book which has endured a major printing error, and SHAKE IT UP! cutie Bella Thorne lives up to her name as a stood-up prom queen. Kudos to the Jim Henson Company and Shawn Levy on a fantastic,fabulous,no worries, totally awesome movie.


This recent Cartoon Network mini-series aspires to be the offbeat kind of fantasy adventure one expects from the home of ADVENTURE TIME, STEVEN UNIVERSE, UNCLE GRANDPA, and REGULAR SHOW, but stops just short. It IS worth a download from Netflix or Amazon just for the sake of curiosity.
SPOILER ALERT: It originally aired just after Halloween 2014 and the last chapter is set at a Halloween party. Let that inform your decision to download or not.

NEXT: Santa Steve's Naughty and Nice Lists!

Happy Thanksgiving, Buckaroos!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

2.24 Too Much To Talk About!

First of all, I just flew in from Memphis, and, boy, are my arms tired! (The old ones are still the best!) If you haven't been to Memphis, first of all, why?, second of all, you should. It's the Home of the Blues (W.C. Handy,B.B. King) and the Birthplace of Rock N' Roll .(Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, and this guy from nearby Mississippi named...uh,Presley. Anybody know what happened to him?)

Any which ways, the highlight of my trip had to be Graceland, which Elvis' dad bought from this couple (The wife's name happened to be Grace. AND NOW...YOU KNOW.) and he, the King, turned into possibly one of the greatest addresses in music history Upon arrival, every tourist receives an iPad upon which a tour narrated by John Stamos has been downloaded, and you can see just about anything in the legendary mansion. You can also get everything Elvis at one of a few official liscenced gift shops, see some of his movie memorablila in a special museum, and even spend the night at the Heartbreak Hotel, down at the end of Lonely Street just off Elvis Presley Boulevard. (Seriously!) Find out more at http://www.elvis.com , which links to the Graceland site, the official Elvis-only radio station on Sirrius XM, and the social media sites. (More on Memphis at http://www.stevesspecialblog.com !)

Yes, I HAVE been keeping up with the new series on TV, and my favorites so far are

A TO Z (NBC, TV-14) Ben Feldman is Andrew Lofland, a man's man who just happens to work at an online dating service, and Christin Millotte is Zelda Vasco, a lawyer who tries to lodge a complaint against Wallflower, Andrew's place of employment, but ends up meeting him instead. Narrated by Katey Sagal ("Married with Children," "Sons of Anarchy"), this romantic comedy in 26 acts is brought to you by the letters E for entertaining. F for fun, and W for witty and wonderful.

THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA (NBC, TV-14) To say Laura (Debra Messing) has her hands full is an understatement. She's a tough New York City detective AND a single mom of two hellions whose captain just HAPPENS to be her ex-husband! The biggest mystery is how she manages to hold it all together, but it's worth spending an hour every Wednesday at 9 PM ET to find out!

BAD JUDGE (NBC, TV-14) After a decade as Dr. Addison Montgomery on Grey's Anatomy and its spinoff Private Practice, Kate Walsh trades in her scrubs for judicial robes, but, as the title indicates, this judge is no saint. Will Ferrell and his Funny Or Die partner Adam McKay stay classy by executive-producing this arresting mix of comedy and drama with comedy clearly in the driver's seat, or should I say, in the juror's box!

GIRL MEETS WORLD (Disney Channel, TV-G) This update of the ABC classic Boy Meets World has been on since this past summer, and it's never too late to join in the fun! Corey (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel), who we saw grow up in Philly, have since married and moved to the Big Apple where he currently works as a high school teacher trying to explain it all to his prize student (and daughter) Riley (Rowan Blanchard) and her bestie Maya (Sabrina Carpenter). It may not be JUST like old times, but if you remember the original (currently playing in reruns on ABC Family),it's worth a look!

WORLD SERIES (FOX Sports) Whoda thought a small (ish) town like Kansas City would become such a center of culture, industry, and sports? ROYALS IN FIVE! (Sorry, San Francisco, but not much.)

Next blog, and I don't just guarantee it, I GUARAN-DOGGONE-TEE IT, there will be a next blog, I will go over the best of the new movies. Till then, have a happy, not too scary and safe Halloween, I love you for reading this, pray for our troops (and journalists covering the Ebola outbreak), AND...

Bye, Buckaroos!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2.23 One Last Nano Nano

"O Captain, My Captain! Our fearful trip is done.
The ship has weathered every rack. The prize we sought is won.
The port is near, the bells I hear,the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring,
But O heart!heart!heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead."

I had the pleasure to meet Robin McLaurin Williams in 1979, just as his star was beginning to rise. The occasion was "VIP Night On Broadway," a tres chi-chi affair mounted by Broadway legends Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Phyllis Newman and sponsored by Burger King (You haven't lived until you've had Whoppers with champagne chasers!) to raise money for the New York City Patrolman's Benevolent Association's Vest Fund. Earlier in the evening, he played a homeless person who rambled about the day the Japanese took over Manhattan and turned Broadway into Ginza-way. I had already seen his work on the ill-fated revival of LAUGH-IN (unfortunately, without Rowan and Martin or any of the other original regulars) as well as MORK AND MINDY, and I was aware that this was a comic force to be reckoned with. When the show ended and we all went to the after-party, Robin worked the room shaking hands and saying Hi as he went. I had the pleasure to get his autograph and I can honestly say he was truly the nicest guy in the room that evening.

That's why I was shocked to hear about his subsequent bouts with depression. Chicago-born, Julliard-trained Robin always was the best part of any movie he starred in, from GOOD MORNING VIETNAM to DEAD POETS SOCIETY (Hence the Whitman quote), even redeeming clunkers like Robert Altman's live-action POPEYE and Disney's FLUBBER. He was truly a jack-of-all-trades and master-of-all-media. He was that rare comic who could work blue and clean and morph right into drama.

From GOOD WILL HUNTING to THE FISHER KING, everybody has their own favorite Robin Williams memory.

The last TV series Robin ever worked on was CBS' THE CRAZY ONES, a modern "Mad Men" set in a San Francisco ad agency which took its title from a classic Apple spot wherin Steve Jobs saluted the crazy ones such as Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King,Jr., and Jim Henson, who weren't afraid to challenge the status quo. To that toast, I add the name of Robin Williams, but at the same time, I wish he had stayed around to continue to entertain new generations of fans.

Nano nano, Robin.

Happy trails, buckaroo. You will be missed.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

2.22 Steve's Movie Blog: MARVEL's GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY PG-13

By now, I guess you have Marvel Studios pretty well figured out. They take only the best known heroes, build multi-million dollar epics that reflect their greatness around them, and immediately after the director yells "Cut!", they start looking at scripts and headshots and planning THE NEXT GREAT PICTURE, right?

If you've been with Marvel (Comics) for a long time you know they have a reputation for taking the playbook (even their own) and tearing it to shreds. One example of this has just hit cinemas from Anchorage to Ankara and everywhere in between. Ladies and gentlemen, the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

STAR-LORD Created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan, Peter Quill, the son of an Earthling mother and alien father, isn't exactly your traditional clean-cut, smiling intergalactic protector. As portrayed by Chris Pratt, he can be a real jerk, but when planets are threatened, he shows true leadership potential.

GAMORA Created by Jim Starlin and played in the movie by Zoe Saldana, this adopted daughter of the super villain Thanos would rather be a protector than an agressor, although the egos she has to deal with DO make it a bit hard! Still, she is both a team player and a good leader.

GROOT Created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and my CWPF Darlin' Dick Ayers, (I see him and his charming wife Lindy every year at conventions. He is never too busy to autograph one of his old books or discuss his "Saturday TV Funhouse" graphic novels scripted by SNL veteran and "Funhouse" creator Robert Smigel. But, I digress.) this tree-like monster of few words (All he says is, "I...am...GROOT!") is played by Vin Diesel with a combination of nobility, intelligence, and strength.

ROCKET RACCOON Created by two of the nicest guys in the comic biz I have had the pleasure to meet, Boisterous Bill Mantlo and Klobberin' Keith Giffen and named in homage to Paul McCartney's country classic "Rocky Raccoon," this short but powerful alien hero is a loose cannon, a born fighter, furry, ANYTHING but cute! SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK's Bradley Cooper goes...all...the...way to score a touchdown with a winning voiceover of this character.

DRAX THE DESTROYER Created by Mike Friedrich and Jim Starlin,WWE Superstar Dave Bautista applies the better aspects of his wrestling character to this supporting character in the Captain Mar-Vell saga whose goal is to exact revenge on Thanos.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Originally created in 1969 by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan and spectacularly revived in 2008 by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, this James Gunn-written-and-directed effort is not exactly your average Marvel epic, but then, these are not exactly your average Marvel heroes. It DOES have your requisite mix of believable heroes, realisitic dialogue, incredible special effects, and more than a few laughs, but it ALSO has a score which features what one of my favorite DJ's once described as "MOTOWN, SOUL AND ROCK N' ROLL!" (For example, Rupert Holmes' "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)," Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," and the musical highlight, Blue Suede's "Hooked On A Feeling".) Except for the obligatory Stan Lee appearance, this is unlike any movie you've ever seen, and stick around after the credits for a little surprise!

If you love super hero movies, you'll love this one! If you don't, this movie will change your mind! SEE IT!


Monday, August 4, 2014

2.21 "Oh, Bother, I Forgot"!-Winnie the Pooh

Sorry for being AWOL and MIA, loyal members of Steve Nation, but there's been SOOOOOOO much happening, I don't know WHERE to start!

Actually, I'll try, by saying my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of MH17, and if you can, please make a donation to your local Red Cross, Red Mogen David, or Red Crescent, and write "MH17," "Malaysia Airlines MH17," or "Flight MH17" in the "Memo" space on your check.

As for our US Soccer Team, good job, guys, and I hope that barring a boycott, you make it to the 2018 World Cup. I BELIEVE THAT YOU WILL WIN! I BELIEVE THAT YOU WILL WIN! I BELIEVE THAT YOU WILL WIN! (I also hope you guys don't get tired of that since we kept shouting it and you still lost. Oh, well! See you in Moscow if there IS a Moscow!)

So much for the Lazy, Hazy,Crazy Days of Summer. It hasn't been all that Hazy, Hot and Humid here in the Northeastern United States, and it hasn't been Lazy for me! So far I have seen Paul McCartney at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY, (After I left the TU, as they call it, to get some sleep for my ride home, Paul let a man and woman on stage, and the guy dropped to one knee and popped THE question. She said yes and Paul serenaded them with "When I'm Sixty-Four.") Minor League Baseball, (the Staten Island Yankees and the former Pittsfield Mets, now the Tri-City ValleyCats, affiliated with the Houston Astros and playing at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy, NY), another British Invasion star, Peter Asher, as the Cutting Room in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan, (I had the pleasure to share my table with legendary New York radio journo Patty Steele and hubby Steve Kingston.) the aforementioned Ms. Steele's current boss, Scott Shannon, now broadcasting at WCBS-FM as he celebrated his one-hundred-and-first (as in the station's frequency of 101. mhZ on the smilin' FM dial) morning show live from the City Winery in Lower Manhattan (with Billy Joel saxman Mark Rivera, cover band 45 RPM, American Idol Constantine Maroulis, and Micky Dolenz of one of Paul's favorite Beatle imitators, the Monkees), harness racing's answer to the Kentucky Derby, the Hambletonian, at the all new Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ (where I met Kevin Jonas who had NOTHING to do with harness racing, but EVERYTHING to do with Jersey, because he and his fellow Jonas Brothers came from there), and the Runyon 5k Run/Walk presented by the MetLife Foundation, which was held at Yankee Stadium and raised money for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. (First of all, you can help them either directly or by buying theatre tickets to "Book of Mormon," "If/Then," "Rocky," or other great Broadway shows by going to damonrunyon.org .) I can sum that up in just one word:   WHEW!

Hard to believe, but American football is just around the corner. I'm not going to go crazy like Don Imus and tell you to bet your lungs, mortgage your home, or borrow money from organized crime, but I WILL tell you that the Giants and (former St. Louis now Arizona) Cardinals will make it to the Super Bowl and the G-Men will bring another Lombardi Trophy home. (At least you can make it a gentle person's bet or a clean-your-room bet or something non-threatening like that.)

Until next time, and a more punctual blog...

Bye, Buckaroos!

Monday, May 19, 2014

2.20 The Good, The Bad, and the Birthday


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!


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.


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!


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!

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!

Thursday, May 8, 2014


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!)


Thursday, April 17, 2014


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!

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!)


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?"


Tuesday, March 25, 2014


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!

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!)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

2.13 Let me make a few things perfectly clear...

Actually, let me kick off this blog by relaying Scott Shannon's recent on-air clarification regarding his recent "retirement."

He did NOT retire from radio as a whole.
He DID retire from his then-current radio station because they wanted a younger audience, and he couldn't and wouldn't change his style to satisfy that audience.

As for his former employee, Cooper Lawrence, we  ARE  still friends and I AM checking in with her and the rest of the WPLJ Todd Show crew.

I forgot to welcome the following countries to SteveNation:


Welcome one and all, and I'm sorry I left you out last time, especially Brazil,  what with the World Cup  coming up. HOPE YOU WON'T LET ANY VUVUZELAS INTO THE STADIUM!

As  for the final Olympic results,  here's the medal count from Sochi, courtesy of NBCOlympics.com :

RUSSIA: 33 total medals, 13 Gold,11  Silver, 9 Bronze
USA:       28 total medals,  9  Gold, 7   Silver,12 Bronze
NORWAY:26 total medals,11 Gold,5  Silver,10 Bronze

Congratulations,everybody, and also to the Canadian Men's and Women's Hockey Teams on your Gold Medals!


FROZEN(PG) With the  Talents Of Kristen Bell, Adele  Mamzeem (Oops, I mean, Idina  Menzel!), Owen Wilson, and Josh Gad, Music by Robert Lopez, Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Screenplay by Jennifer Bell, Inspired by "The Snow Queen" by Hans  Christian Andersen. Walt Disney Animation Studios in association with Disney, Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, available from Amazon,  Netflix,and your local service provider.This particular pic has the distinction of being (A) the Best Animated Feature Of 2013 and (B) simultaneously classic Disney and not your mother's Disney. Like THE LITTLE MERMAID,   the short subjects THE UGLY DUCKLING and THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES and THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER in FANTASIA 2000,it draws inspiration from the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, and in the tradition of all the classic  Disney movies,  it features songs that resonate with fans of all ages,(My favorites: "Do You Want to Build a Snowman," and, OF COURSE, "Let It Go")characters you can empathize with, lovable comic relief characters, and heart-tugging drama,but that's where the similarity ends. Maybe it's the fact that Marvel and Lucasfilm are now part of the Disney family, or maybe it's all the Shakespearean adaptations that Miramax produced for Disney, but what Marvel, the Star Wars canon, and Shakespeare's ouevere have in common are heroes who are not entirely good and villains who are not entirely bad. Anybody expecting the prince to be a traditional Prince Charming, the heroine to, as is the case in the post-Little Mermaid world of Disney, to be beautiful, smart, and practically perfect and the villain to be 99 and 44/100% impure is in for a shock, and if you STILL haven't seen FROZEN, you will get NO spoiler alerts here! (I WILL tell you that Josh Gad steals the show as the voice of Olaf, a dimwitted snowman who can't wait for Summer!) If you haven't seen FROZEN, DON'T let it go! See it! You'll  be VERY glad you did.

THE LEGO MOVIE(PG) With the talents of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will  Ferrell, Will Arnett,Morgan Freeman,Liam Neeson,Nick Offerman,Billy Dee Williams,Colbie Smulders and Allison Brie,"Everything Is Awesome" Performed by Tegan and Sara, Produced by Warner Animation Group in association with Village Roadshow Pictures and Lego Systems A/S, Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures

EVERYTHING is awesome about THE LEGO MOVIE? Not really. The "We Are The 99%" message that seems to be a major theme in this movie has been overdone, and the live-action Will Ferrell sequence in the middle of the movie kills the fun. The best thing about the TOY STORY series, to which this  movie has been compared,has always been the fact that everything, including the sequences  when  we see the toys' owner, Andy, casting them in his own little dramas,is animated,and furthermore, the TOY STORY series doesn't overtly try to preach any corporate message the way this movie does. Look,I'm  all for any movie that encourages imagination,and there ISN'T anything inherently creepy about grown-ups using Lego to create their own construction projects, heck, I know people in construction and I'm sure Lego is essential to their success, but stopping an animated epic just to let some Real Live Hummin' Beans drive that point home? If that isn't a dealbreaker, I would like  to know what is! OTHER THAN THAT,MRS. LINCOLN,it may not have been the animated masterpiece TOY STORY and the aforementioned FROZEN were,but it was still an entertaining almost-two-hours at the movies, with great voice performances from Chris Pratt as an ordinary construction man chosen to be the Special One and Elizabeth Banks as his sidekick Wildstyle, and just TRY and say something bad about Morgan Freeman, who plays the voice of the old prophet! I just hope they build a better movie in THE LEGO MOVIE 2! See it...on video.

BREAKING NEWS: Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal's Tribeca Entertainment, which produces the Tribeca Film Festival and the sitcom ABOUT A BOY, among others, has sold half-ownership to The Madison Square Garden Company, which already owns The World's Most Famous Arena, the Beacon Theatre, Radio City Music Hall,the Chicago Theatre, the Wang Performing Arts Center in Boston, the Fuse music television network, the Knicks, Rangers, Liberty and minor league Wolf Pack and MSG Network.
The move allows Tribeca to do things it otherwise couldn't do. Does that mean Bobby himself will coach the Knicks? Hey, a guy can dream,  can't he?

AND THE AWARD FOR BAD TIMING GOES TO: WABC-TV, Channel 7, the flagship station of the ABC Television Network, for programming an only marginally funny low-budget romcom called "Weather Girl" about a Seattle (YOU GUESSED IT!) weather girl who commits career suicide on the air by aiming an obscenity-laced tirade right at the Don Juan male anchor of a morning news show just a few days after some broadcast journalists lost their lives in that tragic chopper accident in Seattle. Hey, ABC 7, you guys are part of Disney, why didn't you schedule Michelle Pfeifffer in UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, which is also a romcom about a weather girl, and was produced by your bosses in Burbank? (Or better yet, FROZEN?)
To borrow the one out-and-out truly funny line from "Weather Girl," "read a newspaper."

As for the Road To The NCAA Final Four, Duke,Pittsburgh,Syracuse and Villanova are all on the road to the golf course as Florida, Mercer, Louisville, and Connecticut continue to the Sweet 16. As they used to say in Brooklyn, WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR!

The one other good thing about that turkey (made by turkeys) I mentioned two paragraphs back was a statement that the weather in Seattle does what one does to a Life Saver, and that's all I'm gonna say about THAT! At least the weather HERE in the Big Apple has been better, but that stinking polar air is making its way back, so it's only a LITTLE better, and by that I mean, at least we have sun.

Now  I'm going to "LET YOU GO...LET YOU GO..." Sorry, after seeing FROZEN, I  just couldn't get that song out of my mind!

For now, friends, the blog is over. GO IN PEACE!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

2.12 Don't Cry For Me, Argentina!

The truth is, I haven't left you. Well, why the heck should I, since you guys just got here? Anywho, welcome aboard, Argentina, and you too, Venezuela. Rest of the world, if you're into soap operas, or stories, or telenovelas, you guys should kneel before these two countries, because they produce the best soap operas of any country outside the English-speaking world. (GH and Corrie, I still love you too!)

BTW,newbies, I just want to inform you that you missed a recent blog wishing radio legend Scott Shannon all the best on his retirement.

Guess what, ladies and germs? He's BAAAAAAAAAAAACK!

Two weeks ago Scott took the helm at legendary oldies station WCBS-FM 101.1, accompanied by old friend and traffic reporter Joe Nolan and weatherman Irv "Mr. G" Gikofsky. His has all the ingredients of a good New York morning show, songs, snappy patter, and solid information. I hear all you longtime readers: "WHAT ABOUT THAT TODD GUY WHO'S DOING HIS OLD SHOW AT 95.5 WPLJ?" Well, Todd Pettengill has been doing a good job with the renamed TODD SHOW, but there are two shows and only one me, soooooo it fell upon me to send my best friend at 'PLJ, the lovely and talented entertainment news queen Cooper Lawrence a Dear Cooper email. (Hey, her name isn't John!) I tried my dangdest to make it sound like I wasn't really dumping her (and Todd, producer Joe "Monk" Pardavilla, sidekick Annie,  social media director Sheila Watkos, and a street reporter nicknamed Meatballs), but she sent me a reply asking if I could check in every once in a while.That may be a BIT difficult, but Cooper is such a nice person, (And she probably used up two boxes of Kleenex on that one reply.)  I HAVE kept the channels of communication open, and I've even went so far not to mention Old Whatsisname in my comunications. BTW, any interested parties may check out either Scott's new  show on http://www.radio.com or The Todd Show on http://www.iheart.com , and remember, they both air weekday mornings 6-10 Eastern or 11-3 GMT,  so plan  your day accordingly!

As for what Scott's fellow Radio Hall Of Famer Dan Ingram used to call their "one-eyed sister..."

"Hi,  I'm Jimmy, I'll be your comic for the next few years...I HOPE!" With those words, Jimmy Fallon  began his tenure as the steward of NBC's TONIGHT SHOW, a tradition that began in New York with Steve Allen and his troupe of Louie Nye and Don Knotts, continued with the always controversial Jack Parr, moved to Beautiful Downtown Burbank with Johnny Carson, continued with Jay Leno (TWICE!), was almost low-rated to death by Conan O'Brien, (I know, everything he touches is infused with a very different sense of humor, but sometimes "VERY DIFFERENT" doesn't exactly win ratings and influence Nielsen!)and now returns to where it all began. Unlike the other Jimmy, I refer to a certain James Christian Kimmel, he knows when he's being funny and tries his dangdest not to sound mean, succeeding nine times out of ten. Jimmy is at home talking with everybody from First Lady Michelle Obama to fellow former SNL-er Will Ferrell and everyone in between.A  generous tax break got THE TONIGHT SHOW back in New York, and I have a feeling that if Jimmy continues to rake in the ratings, it will stay here for the next few years...MAYBE MORE!

LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS, TV-14,. Like Jimmy, Seth rose to national prominence as the co-anchor of SNL's  WEEKEND UPDATE. So far, the people have been receptive to this new show. Any bets he will  make a goof of the magnitude of Jack Paar's famous "Wayside Chapel" monologue?

ABOUT A BOY (NBC,TV-PG Tuesdays starting 8:00 PM Eastern)  Actually, it's about TWO boys, Will (David Walton) who's trying to seduce a single MILF (Leslie Bibb), and Marcus (Benjamin Stockham), the 11-year-old who just moved in next door with his overly vegan mom Fiona (Minnie Driver). Any doubts about whether Nick Hornby's  veddy British novel and the later equally British FILM, as they say over there, will survive as an American TV sitcom (produced sans laugh-track by Robert DiNiro and his producing partner Jane Rosenthal as well as Jon Favreau of Iron Man movie fame) should automatically disappear the moment the last opening credit fades out. ABOUT A BOY is about the best thing that's happened to TV comedy since MODERN FAMILY.

(People who  like American reboots of British classics like this should like one of the originals, THE AVENGERS,  on NBC's  secondary digital channel, COZI TV, available in New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Miami,Dallas, and other markets. No, you WON'T get any guys in long underwear, but you WILL get Patrick McNee as gentleman spy John Steed, Diana Rigg as the always a-Peel-ing Emma,and Linda Thorson as his other, comparitively under-rated sidekick (quite capable of kicking more than just sides) Tara King. I heartily recommend a piping hot spot of tea whilst you watch THESE Avengers assemble! British readers should be able to find it on "Best of British" channels from their local satellite providers such as Sky and Virgin.)

GROWING UP FISHER (TV-PG,Tuesdays on NBC following ABOUT A BOY) The Fisher in question is 11-year-old Henry, played as a kid by Eli Baker and as an adult by narrator Jason  Bateman. This dramedy revolves  around what happens when his folks divorce and his blind dad gets a guide dog named Elvis.While not as fall-down funny as AAB, it's still worth a look.

AMERICAN IDOL  (TV-PG, Wednesdays and Thursdays on FOX) Ladies  and gentlemen, THIS is AMERICAN IDOL! Super megastar singer-actress-dancer Jennifer Lopez and Aussie country crooner Keith Urban have returned, joined by Harry Connick Jr. and a brand new crop of Idols-to-be. The live shows have been anything from heartwarming to hilarious, but they are BY NO MEANS BORING!


...but this blog's thoughts and prayers go out to the respective families of fashion designer LaWren Scott and the victims of the terrible crash of Air 4, KOMO 4 News' chopper in Seattle. While they were both very different, they were both very tragic and ended very promising careers. At least they have moved on to a much better place.


     Olympic results, and the road to basketball's Final Four.

Be here! Aloha!

Monday, February 17, 2014

2.11 Everybody Can't Be George Washington

That is what Mr. and Mrs.Brady told Peter when he wanted to play the Father of  Our Country only to wind up playing Benedict Arnold,  and I'm sorry,but that's what I'm telling you, my loyal legion of readers, about this BIG STORY I promised to unleash upon y'all. Well, you guys,the circumstances that necessitated this scoopzilla have  been resolved privately and I'm going to do a WHOLE lot of editorial tweaking so it turns out to be the best novel you've ever read. (Would you believe ONE of the best?)

SO! How was your President's Day?(Or Family Day if you're in  Canada.) Did  you see any great movies?  THE LEGO MOVIE is still on my to-do list as is FROZEN, but I was intrigued by the premise of WINTER'S TALE, (PG-13) starring Colin Farrell, Jennifer Connelly, Eva Marie Saint,  and  Will Smith. A romantic drama about time traveling through 100 years of New York City life? That sounded like something I wanted to see. The finished product? Meh.I  have two words for this mish-mash perpetrated by Mark Halperin (the original book) and  Akiva Goldsman ( the screenplay) : KICK IT!

Congratulations to the USA  Hockey Team as they advance to the quarterfinals in Sochi. All the training, skating, hard work, and surviving the krunky hotel rooms paid  off! Now, bring us another Gold Medal, OK?

Congratulations also to the Harlem Globetrotters on winning their Madison Square Garden game against the opposing World All-Stars.Yawn. All kidding aside, the Magicians of Basketball continue to entertain fans of all ages,  and this year, they've added  the  most challenging  rules the game has ever known in addition to such Trotter staples as the four-point basket,  kids making baskets,and the penalty box.(Penalty boxes in  BASKETBALL?!? The Trotters made it happen!)

More congratulations are in order to the NBA Eastern All-Stars who embarassed the homestanding Western Stars at the All-Star Game in  New Orleans. Hey, I'll take ANY excuse to see Carmelo  Anthony and LeBron James  on the same side!

Good  luck to Jimmy Fallon  as  he inherits the Tonight Show  and brings the franchise back to  New  York
PLEASE have a hit and don't give NBC incentive to call Chevy Chase and Joan  Rivers and ask them how they'd like to do late night? We all know how THAT happened the last time, right?

Well, that's it for now, but I'll leave you with the immortal words of George Washington:"MMPH! MMPH!" (He had just taken out his wooden teeth.)

Bye Buckaroos!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2.10 It's Time For A Comcastic Change!

Sorry, True Believers, you're still going to have to wait until Monday for that GINORMOUS blog I hinted at, but, since, as faithful readers may recall, I protested Time Warner Cable's CBS blackout this past summer and  urged TWC to look to Comcast, the owner of NBC and the networks and platforms of NBC Universal as an  example on how to serve customers AND  King Content.

Well, I know what people in Washington and Cyberspace are thinking, but, as an American citizen, I would like to use my right to tell the known universe that I am ONE-HUNDRED PERCENT IN FAVOR OF A MERGER OF TIME WARNER CABLE AND COMCAST!

I strongly DOUBT all the allegations that TWC-Comcast customers will have to sacrifice their first born to pay for service. Maybe a SMALL uptick at worst, but I believe one of the reasons  why Comcast is about to make an honest cable company out of Time Warner is its past history of high prices and poor service and the Peacock  is  going to put its foot down and inform Tee-Dubs that if it wants to hang with a company that is the home to some of the best-known  brands  in news (TODAY, MEET THE PRESS) and entertainment (the all-encompassing Universal movie library), it's either their way or the highway. In short, Time Warner may dump ABC,CBS,MSG and LS/MFT (Google Search it!) but when they are under the same corporate umbrella, dumping any NBCU network is going to be difficult, impossible, and JUST...PLAIN...STUPID!

With all due respect to the various pundits and politicians, this is one merger America and its cable consumers need, an example of bigger being better, and a true merger of equals, but if you disagree,well, that's  why the Great Gods of the Internet invented comment boxes!

Before I  slowly sink into the West, I would like to congratulate Bill DeBlasio on keeping the schools  open  on a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day of weather...but that would be wrong. If he keeps this up,there's  a very strong chance he won't be re-elected.

Until this Monday...

Bye, Buckaroos!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2.9 The Big Blog

That's the only thing I can call this blog. I've got SOOOOO  much to talk about today, the Big Game, the leader of New York's Big Show, big doings over in Russia, but all that's just a warm-up to my next blog  which is gonna be HUGE!

In all the years I've had the pleasure to know Michael Scott Shannon, I've never known  him to be shy and retiring, but after four decades in the entertainment business, he's finally retiring as the ringleader of WPLJ radio's "Scott & Todd Big Show" to focus on his duties as the Vice President of Programming at Cumulus Media.

Everybody has his/her favorite Scott Shannon story, and mine happens to be one of the first, at least the first of his New York tenure. In the early morning hours of August 2,1983,I was relaxing to the smooth sounds of Les Davis on WVNJ 100.3 FM (WVNJOY by day, WVNJAZZ by night) until 6 AM  when I heard a ringtone and a voice say, "At this time,  Radio Station WHTZ  signs on the air. WHTZ is owned and operated by Malrite Communications and transmits from the top of the Empire State Building. Signing on the air, this is WHTZ, Newark." He pushed a button and a nuclear explosion sound effect made a large boom. The voice said, in a singsongy tone, "It's time to wake up." As  Survivor's "Eye Of The Tiger" rocked on my radio, I was of two minds. Part of me loved this new sound, and part of me wanted to take this guy and knock...his...head...clean...OFF!

When he finally announced the phone number, I called it, and when he answered, I asked him,  in my calmest voice,

He told me he was  Scott Shannon, a DJ from St.Louis who had this talent for turning losing Top 40 radio stations into ratings winners, and he had come to New York to fill the void left by our iconic Top 40 station, 77 WABC, which had joined its one time Top 40 competitor, 570 WMCA, as a talk radio station. I remembered the glory days of the WMCA Good Guys and WABC All-Americans,  so I decided to stay awhile. (Besides,  the activist who fought to turn a former jazz  station, which had been country for two years and now broadcasts as 106.7 Lite FM,back into a jazz station had fallen off the face of the earth, and if she wanted us to run this new guy out of town she would have told us, which she didn't.) In time, Scott was joined by his sidekick (and former WABC All-American) Ross Brittain, newsgirl and long-suffering Rangers fan Claire Stevens, socially aware weekend public service host Jonathan B. Bell, Bell's goofy assistant Mr. Leonard (played by John Rio from a Houston station where Scott had also worked), and WHTZ, better known as Z100, became the Number One rated radio station in the tough New York market, and all of America, and Scott became THE talking head CNN,Entertainment Tonight,Oprah, and NBC all wanted to talk to when it came to music as well as a founding VJ on a new  network called VH1. Not being satisfied with merely conquering New York with his mix of music and comedy, he created a syndicated weekend version of his popular Morning Zoo format called the ROCKIN' AMERICA TOP 30 COUNTDOWN which wasn't only heard all over the country but also as far as Paris. (Ironically, Scott was dragged off to Paris kicking and screaming when his wife Trish wanted to celebrate the station's first anniversary with a second honeymoon.One good thing that came out of that vacation was a daughter, Kathleen.) Not only did he love playing the hits FIRST AND EXCLUSIVE but he also loved biting the hand that fed him. When a radio station  in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima were developed, signed on with the call letters KBOM, or K-Bomb, he played the same sound he did when he announced Z100's  intention to blow the other stations out of the water. Since then, K-Bomb has been  featured on two CNN documentaries on nuclear war and changed formats from oldies to Top 40 to smooth jazz to NPR before completely disappearing. If only ShanMan had joined the station in an advisory capacity the way he did so many others!

Unfortunately, all good things must  come to an end, and Scott was seduced by the siren song of Hollywood,  where, hoping he would write another radio success story, he took over a struggling beautiful music station and said, "If you're looking for K-Lite, it don't live here anymore! WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE! This is the NEW Pirate Radio 100.3 FM!' Despite the help of some fellow Z100 veterans, Pirate failed to make the kind of impact Z100 did, although Scott,  backed by the support of NBC  affiliates, participating radio sponsors including Z100, major corporate advertisers, and CNN,challenged the music video dominance of MTV(a network he originally backed and provided the inspiration for Z100's music mix) with "The Official Smash Hits All-Request Top 10 Video Countdown," a compact 30-minute mix of video, comedy and interviews which was taped at his L.A.studios.

Since the other L.A. stations had sunk his Pirate ship, Scott returned to New York, this time WPLJ, the radio station he had once called WIMP, Wimpy 95 because it had abandoned a successful rock radio format to copy Z100 from stem to stern He into an East Coast version  of Pirate called Mojo Radio 95.5 FM, but Z100 was still a formidable competitor. Fortunately, his luck improved when he coaxed Albany jock Todd Pettengill downstate. Todd provided that X Factor Scott was looking for with his witty song parodies and merciless phone scams, and the Scott & Todd Big Show lasted 23 years with listeners all over the New York area and thousands more all over the world thanks to internet streaming and exposure on FOX's  Dish Nation entertainment news show.

This past Friday, Scott shattered any illusion that he was going to continue as the Energizer Bunny of American radio by announcing his retirement after FIVE DECADES in the business, which have been rewarded by, among other honors,  a prominent place in the Radio Hall of Fame.On Feburary 24, the TODD SHOW takes over the WPLJ frequency and web site(http://www.plj.com and the iHeart Radio and TuneIn apps)and continues on a Monday-Saturday basis from 6-10 AM Eastern time. (Europe and Asia, please set aside a decent amount of time,'cause it COULD be habit forming!)

Now on to the Big Game:


They came  to a great, but cold,city wearing images of a blue and green hawk wearing a determined expression and  later visited a certain sunny land of dreams in a state whose name means  "Land of Flowers" and took a VERY IMPORTANT meeting with a jovial rodent and  his many friends.


The Denver Broncos, under the leadership of coach John Fox and quarterback Peyton Manning put on  an admirable performance, but no matter how  many "OMAHAS!" came out of Mr. Manning's lips, nothing they could do could stop the Hawks from handing them a crushing 43-8 defeat. The heroes of the Northwest proved more than equal to the task of winning the first Super Bowl ever to played outdoors in a cold climate, although, truth to tell, conditions were better than earlier anticipated.  Former college coach  Pete Carroll and star players Russell Westbrook and the highly controversial Richard Sherman delivered a performance worthy of Broadway, and, although there are many, myself included, who believe the NFL should not put on a Super Bowl in the New York City area until we build a sufficiently climate-controlled domed stadium in Midtown Manhattan, the League got a significant return on its investment.


TOUCHDOWN: RadioShack's  tongue-in-cheek tribute to the 80's. It starts with an employee reading a text saying, "The 80's called! They want their store back!" and continues with 80's icons such as Hulk Hogan, the California Raisins,  and ALF dismantling the Shack to make room for the Shack of today.
FIELD GOAL: Toyota's two ads with the  Muppets saying the new Highlander has "no room for boring"
SAFETY: Jaguar's tribute to British CINEMA villains such as Tom Hiddleston, better known as Loki,  God of Mischief.
PENALTY FOR DELAY OF GAME: Dannon Oikos yogurt's not-too-funny reunion of the guys from Full House. If they brought the Olsen twins off the bench, it would have been way better. (Forgetting Jodie Sweeting, a/k/a Stephanie? HOW RUDE!)
FUMBLE: Bud Light's total mishmash of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Don Cheadle, and other talent that should have been used to better effect.


I didn't hear Renee Fleming and her National Anthem, but I'm sure the Met Opera will provide a platform so I can make up for the grevious mistake of missing her. I DID hear the Pepsi Halftime Show starring Bruno Mars and he put on a stellar performance which, thankfully, went undamaged by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and WHATEVER they did. There were a lot of great PRE-game performances from such acts as The Band Perry, American Idol Phillip Phillips, and New Jersey icon Jon Buns, I mean, BON Jovi. I was just man crushin' on him.


The highlight was a beautiful tearjerking report on the aftermath of 9/11, including a tour of the new One World Trade Center.

Now,  onto the Games of the Winter Olympics.


The good news  is, the American women are scoring all kinds of victories from the hockey rink to the ski slopes. The bad news is Sochi  itself. The beach resort town which has been forced to double as a winter wonderland has many unpaved roads, and the conditions at the hotels are bad FOR EVERYBODY, so much so that one bobsledder accidentally locked himself in the loo and muscled himself out, a la the Incredible Hulk. Fortunately, the Games have become the release both the Russian people and the frozen American people need, especially since temps in Sochi have reached the 60's.


This just in, Derek Jeter, the Captain of the New York Yankees, the only team he EVER played for, will retire at the end of the 2014 season, thus driving the final nail into the coffin of the Pinstripers' most successful era since the glory days of Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle and Gehrig. Thanks for the memories, Derek. The Bronx won't be the same without you.


...and they are dimpled darling turned ambassador Shirley Temple Black and TV comedy pioneer Sid Caesar. Every child and teen star owes a significant debt to Shirley and every comic from Cosby to Colbert was inspired in some way by Sid. After spending almost a century on this earth, they both made their final exit this week. Their respective contributions will live on as long as up-and-comers take the stage, and as long as there are museums  and YouTube pages, future generations will see and appreciate their work.

Well,that's the Big Blog, but the next blog is gonna be HUGE! In fact, it's gonna be SO huge, it will need its own web address, and it's coming to a computer near you THIS President's Day! As  the aforementioned Mr. Shannon would say, be there or be square and bring clean underwear!

That's pretty much it, except for have a nice weekend, Happy Valentine's Day to everybody celebrating, AND...

Bye, Buckaroos!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

2.8 The Fat Lady Sings on Super Bowl Boulevard

All week long, I wanted to spend a few hours on Super Bowl Boulevard (usually Times Square) in Midtown Manhattan, but there was just one thing wrong: I WAS TOO BLAMED BUSY!

Finally, I visited the NFL's tribute to all things football today, but nobody else was there. To quote the great Yogi Berra, "It was too crowded!" After a great deal of consideration, I decided NOT to ride the Super Bowl Tobbagan , the Boulevard's signature attraction. Some people who DID were Mayor Bill de Blasio and family. (Even though I disagree with a lot of his political decisions, we both back the Seattle Seahawks and their star players, Richard Sherman, Russell Westbrook, and Marshawn Lynch, to name but a few.) I didn't actually see the ceremony in person, but Hizzoner was joined by Governor Andrew Cuomo (of NY) and embattled Governor Chris Christie (of NJ, where, as Brian Williams and a lot of the MSM, or Mainstream Media, have been reminding us for a good deal of the week, the game will actually be played tomorrow) as they handed the Super Bowl over to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. (I honestly believe the NFL could do worse for a Super Bowl city than nice, toasty warm Scottsdale, AZ. Although Gov Cuomo and NFL Commissioner Roger Godell pronounced Super Bowl Boulevard a success, I wouldn't rule out saying on a purely meteorogical basis that they already have.) There were so many lines all over the place, I almost felt like praying for Fastpass, which,as you probably may, or may not, know, is Disney's line reservation system. I actually DID spend some time at the New York State Video Wall, where I saw footage of the Empire State's many festivals, outdoor attractions,  and farms.

Unless you spent last week under a rock,you may remember my saying something about the world's greatest everything, Alyssa Milano,and her visit to Modell's in support of her NFL apparel line. I stood on line outside Modell's in 40-degree weather for two hours straight intent on being one of the first hundred people to get a ticket to see her. I made it inside, but if you're looking for an in-depth interview with the lady who has played a good teen, a bad teen, a witch, a mermaid, a super hero,a seductress, Lady Godiva,and a genie, (And most of it has been on CHARMED!) you're going to have to look elsewhere, because Alyssa's handlers made it crystal clear that she could only sign photos of herself modeling a Super Bowl shirt, so I had to make do with serenading  her with Reader's Digest-style lyrical adaptations of two of her hits when she was a pop princess in Japan, "What A Feeling" and "Straight To The Top," but although my versions lasted approximately five minutes total, she was VERY appreciative.  WORTH IT!

I also visited the NFL Shop at Macy*s Herald Square, but I felt kind of naked since I don't have a black belt in karate, which, I believe, was required wear. I DID complete my appointed rounds, which also  included a visit to Macy*s Little Male NFL Shoppers' Room, although the crowds didn't exactly make it a walk in the park, or, in this case, a sprint down the field!

Although I thought it was great being part of the greatest event in sports and meeting new people, if the Super Bowl NEVER comes back to a New York without a domed stadium in Midtown, it will be too soon!

As for the game ITSELF (and the commercials, the halftime show, and OTHER distractions) that will have to wait until the next mind-boggling edition of whatever the heck I'm doing here. Until then, all those of you who are watching, enjoy the game, and...


Sunday, January 26, 2014

2.6 Take Me Out To The Ball...I Mean, HOCKEY Game!

First of all, a little housekeeping. Konichi-wa,  Japan, and thank you for sharing the fruits of your automotive and cultural labors, and yes, I DO mean manga, anime, and the Power Rangers. Actually,the Mighty Morphers are mostly American, Haim Saban, who co-created the English language version and repurchased it from Disney, is Israeli and works out of L.A., and every season from "Power Rangers Ninja Storm" (2003) to "Power Rangers Megaforce" (since 2012) has been filmed in New Zealand, a country that applauds the Power kids for fighting for truth,justice, and the Kiwi way (actually the Kiwi film industry),but believes they're a bad influence on impressionable Kiwi kids and MUST remind the little anklebiters to NOT attempt anything Rangeresque at home. (I love you, you're perfect, now  stop telling the kids it's OK to karate-kick their Aunt Matilda.) OTHER THAN THAT,  keep the kitsch coming! MEAN IT! (A few years ago, I visited the prestigious Tramwell Crow museum of Oriental art in beautiful Dallas and purchased a book on the art  of Tokyo. I told the nice lady I would like to visit your exciting capital city and she said, "Good luck with that, pal!" A guy can dream, can't he?)

Second of all, how did y'all like the actual weather report in my last post? I promise you, THAT post is the bluest this blog is EVER gonna get! (Apologies for not plugging it with my usual panache, but it IS available on many of these fine ISP's. Just scroll down right after this particular post and there it is, but get the kids out of the room before you hit that arrow!)

Unless  you've been lurking in the wilds of Borneo, you're no doubt aware that Super Bowl  XLVIII will  be played next week at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and the other sports leagues (and Broadway shows, such as the "War and Peace" semi-spoof "The Great Comet of 1812", which is offering deep discounts) are pulling out all the stops to make this a truly super week for residents and visitors alike. One such example happened today as historic Yankee Stadium hosted its FIRST EVER hockey game, part of the NHL Stadium Series presented by Coors Light, and starring my beloved New York Rangers (YAY!) and the New Jersey Devils (BOO!) Although I'm proud to be a Ranger fan, I also pride myself on having the good sense to NOT schlep out to the 21-degree borough of the Bronx (10 with the wind chill) and work out at my nice heated gym (24 Hour Fitness Derek Jeter, by the way, which is run by the Yankee captain himself) while watching the game on NBC. Call me a traitor, but I think NBC gave me the best seat in the house as the Broadway Blueshirts came from behind to exorcise the Devils by a tremendous 7-3 margin. Not a bad warm-up for the sports world's marquee event, huh?

Another thing I would like to thank Japan for, although I kinda discovered it pretty late, is the pop career of a certain Alyssa Jayne Milano. YEP, the same Alyssa Milano who showed Tony Danza "Who's The Boss," lived in Hollywood's steamiest address on "Melrose Place," "Charmed"  us all as one of the three most powerful witches in San Francisco, put more simmer in last summer as one of four "Mistresses," and is the current host of Lifetime's PROJECT RUNWAY ALL-STARS. Anywho, the prestigious Marubeni company asked Alyssa to sing a song for a spaghetti sauce commercial, and her dad Tom and their friend Joey Carbone, better known for the theme to IT'S GARRY SHANDLING'S SHOW, put together a poppy little ditty called "Look In My Heart," and although it was no great challenge to established teen queens Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, and Martika,it DID sell a lot of spaghetti sauce, which led to a veritable plethora of hit singles (big in Japan, but not so much over HERE) such as "What A Feeling," "Straight To The Top," "Happiness" and "Do You See Me?" I got some of her CD's on Amazon, and although they weren't classics, they were still fun in their own way. The reason why I bring up Alyssa's pop career is because one of her pet projects is designing official team apparel for ladies that isn't locked into what many feel is the "pink princess" stereotype, and she'll be at the Modell's Sporting Goods on Times Square a/k/a Super Bowl Boulevard this coming Saturday from 8 to 12 noon, and guess who plans to stop by? How did you guess? Anyways, look forward to a complete report on my close encounter of the Charmed kind with the amazing Alyssa Milano.

Finally, I would like to say adios to an old friend, Luis Avalos, who left this world this weekend at the tender age of 67. Although not as well known as Bill Cosby and Rita Moreno, his castmates on the original Electric Company on PBS, he was a celebrity in the eyes of many beginning readers who used the show to supplement their training in reading proficiency. After the Company went out of business, he moved to San Antonio, the home of the bilingual kidvid show CARRASCOLENDAS,  where he played Cleofas the alley cat, who was the best friend of clumsy but lovable lion Agapito, who many claim was inspired by Big Bird. Luis, Cleofas, and his other characters, will all be missed.

Until my next report from Super Bowl Week in chilly New York...