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...


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2.4 There's No Place Like Dome, There's No Place Like Dome,,,

Don't get me wrong, I AM  happy that Super Bowl  XLIVIII  is being played in New Jersey and that New York is welcoming the Denver Broncos and (especially!) the Seattle Seahawks and their various coaches and fans, but, if I said it once, I said it a thousand times, I WISH WE HAD A DOMED  FOOTBALL  STADIUM!

I know, I know, we're NOO YAWKERS,  we're tough,  we can take anything, we're not Wimpopolis,  USA. Well, NEWS FLASH, guys,  Toronto is just a train ride away,and although they MAY be more genteel and just a skosh more, well, BRITISH, than us, they're not exactly a bunch of wussies,and  THEY have had the Rogers Centre, (formerly SkyDome) a beautiful multi-purpose arena, for years. Say what you will about ex-Mayor Mike Bloomberg, one idea of his that SHOULD have been realized was a domed stadium on the West Side which would have welcomed the Summer Games AND the Super Bowl. After what some of his CWPF's said on Inauguration Day, there is a part of me that wishes Bill DeBlasio was defeated on Election Night by Joe Lhota, the kind of guy who would have approved an indoor stadium in, pardon the expression,a New York minute. After all, he's a past Executive Vice President of Madison Square Garden, so why WOULDN'T he approve the idea? It would pump millions of dollars into the economy (dollars which would be used to feed the homeless and educate our kids) and create new jobs, and, OF COURSE, provide athletes with a place to play without freezing their posteriors off. Just sayin'.

As I take computer in paw, it is currently, as a New York radio personality named David Haines who fancied himself a local version of Paul Harvey would have said, "Seventeen FUN-LOVIN' degrees" with snow coming down in buckets, which necessitated my need to express my opinion of a domed stadium, or the lack therof. Just when you thought it was safe to go back outside, old Mr. Polar Vortex is back, and nobody is safe, not even Miami, where tomorrow's temps are not expected to be higher than SIXTY. Your story has touched my heart. (Cue the violins.)

Changing the subject he said, if you remember M*A*S*H, I think you'll like ENLISTED, a new show on FOX  (Fridays, 9:30 pm ET, check time and channel, rated TV-14) about a hero of the battle against terror in Afghanistan who must command a troop of misfits in Florida, some of whom are his brothers. It's a new show, so, give it time. I'm sure it will be back in the Fall for another tour of duty.

Unfortunately, the old clock on the wall is telling me to start shutting this little get-together down, so, until the next sunny and WARM day (PLEASE!) we meet again, this is your announcer saying, BRRRR, AND...


Monday, January 20, 2014

2.3 You Say You Want A Resolution?


1. Start this blog by welcoming Bosnia and Herzegovina aboard,saying "Bonjour France et Quebec" and "Hello all you hosers in Tronna, eh?" and also saying, "Ceud mille failte, Eirann!" ("A hundred thousand welcomes, Ireland!") Hope you guys can stick around for St. Patrick's Day!

2. Remember that this country started when we rejected a King and boycott all restaurants with King,Queen and Castle in their name! (Also, my trainer doesn't like them!)

3. Apologize to Bill deBlasio for everything bad I said about him last year, especially after his performance on Inauguration Day. (Carriage horses is where I draw the line! They've been a part of this city since ever, and getting rid of them is like giving the Statue of Liberty Jimmy Choos! I'm not so crazy about his intention to ban large sodas either!)

4. Honor the commitment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his birthday by (A) doing my Spring cleaning two months early and (B) uniting my fellow rejected authors to work for the day when no book will be rejected, so-called "self-publishers" will start referring to themselves as "publishing assistants", charge more reasonable rates, and recognize bloggers and authors who take their manuscripts to their local copy center and sell them locally and through mail order as true self publishers.

5. Stand by my teams even though they stink to High Heaven!

6. Continue to give my readers the best dang journalism in the blogosphere, and, once in a while, deliver that one-two punch that will keep people talking for weeks!

7. Deliver that one-two punch no later than Washington's Birthday weekend. After all, the two biggest weeks in sports, (the Sochi Olympics and our own Big Game) are coming up in the next two weeks, and we don't want to steal their thunder, now do we? (EVEN THOUGH my beloved Niners and tolerated Patriots are nowhere near attending the Massacre in the Meadowlands. SOB! I would like to apologize to the Seattle Seahawks for drinking the "Sea-Chickens" Kool-Aid. They proved they were anything but!)

8. Apologize to my readers for being late with my resolutions,  but I've been experimenting with Google's new Chrome Canary Browser, and I've been TRYING AND TRYING to find the Google now feature. (In case you haven't been keeping track, that's the Googster's attempt to compete with Apple's Suri personal search feature.) It WILL be mine! Ah yes, it WILL be mine!

9.  Wrap up my blogs by saying something short and sweet like...


Friday, January 3, 2014

2.2 BREAKING NEWS: 'Snow Fair!

Sorry, True Believers, the last two parts of my special New Year Kickoff will have to wait, thanks to the Blizzard of 14, and what a blizzard it is!

Here I was, thinking it was just another tactic the Lamestream Media used to beef up ratings, but you were right, guys! It IS snowing outside my window in Midtown Manhattan, and Bill deBlasio has made possibly his smartest move since he took office on New Year's Day: HE CLOSED ALL  THE HIGHWAYS AND THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS! More on him  in my next (regularly scheduled) blog.

I speak to you a little past 5 am Eastern Time on January 3 and the snow has been coming down in sheets since last night. I would like to advise all my readers in the New York, Philly,Hersheyburg,(Actually, it's Hershey-Harrisburg, but they MAY want to use that.) Boston and DC metro areas as well as Chicagoland and Kentuckiana, not to mention Greater London if you've decided to start reading this blog again, (PLEASE DO!) to STAY AT HOME UNLESS YOU REALLY HAVE TO WORK, DRIVE CAREFULLY IF YOU MUST, AND USE MASS TRANSIT!

On days like this, I like to think back to warmer times like the summer of '92 when I joined the Rangers for a special Celebrity Cruise to the beautiful island of Bermuda. It was great hanging around with guys who make their living on ice and enjoying it in their drinks instead, as well as seeing all the landmarks from the Bank of Bermuda to the statue honoring their very first Miss World to their branch of the famous department store Marks & Spencer's. (I told MSG play-by-play vet Sam Rosen Bermuda should have its  own hockey team so the Rangers and their fans would keep coming back, and he said it would be an interesting place to play hockey. Hey, a little extra revenue couldn't hurt, since last time I heard, VSB-TV 11, the island's NBC affiliate, reported that Bermudians are largely dissatisfied with their quality of life and would rather live here or in Canada. SERIOUSLY?!? Unless, of course, you plan to live in either L.A. or Miami.)

I also remember my first trip to Australia in '06. It struck me as a beautiful country, combining the best of Britain, America, and the Aboriginal cultures. I met Australian Idol Paulini Cournevali who,unfortunately, isn't as well known as Kelly and Carrie are here, but she's still a great singer and a very nice person, and I saw the Sydney Opera House, Olympic Park,Rod Laver Arena (and the Melbourne Open, the first event on the "road" to tennis' most prestigious event, the US Open in Flushing Meadows Park), and the late great Crocodile Hunter's Australia Zoo. All that, plus the thrill of running around in your shorts in the middle of January! Does it get any better than this?

Time to wrap this up and enjoy a nice snow day catching up with my DVR tapes of SportsCenter, but next time, we'll resume our three part New Year's kickoff! Until then, this is your announcer reminding you, stay warm,drive carefully, think warm thoughts, and...

...Bye, Buckaroos!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2.1 Happy New Year!

Welcome to Volume 2, Number 1 of Steve's Blog. I felt that this new numeration would be the perfect way to start a brand new year, although the 100th post WILL be duly noted and celebrated! This is, actually, the first of THREE special blogs, in this blog we will wrap all the things that have happened since I congratulated Nelson Mandela and Batkid and castigated Borat and Borat, the monsters behind April's Boston massacre, in the next I will share my resolutions, (Bringing peace to the Mideast is NOT on my immediate agenda, although it WOULD be nice!) and in the third...all good things come to those who wait!


No, Concerned Ones, I did  NOT just up and fly off to Vegas and either (A) lose all my material possessions or (B) get married in one of those fly-by-night churches by an Elvis impersonator who took a mail order course! What I DID do, was enjoy the Metropolitan Opera's latest entertaining production of Verdi's classic cautionary tale, RIGOLETTO set not in today's comparitively wholesome Vegas (where they are setting up their OWN performing arts center which will provide a platform for everything from the aforementioned Met Opera to symphony orchestras to touring Broadway productions to pop acts such as hometown favorites the Killers and Imagine Dragons, in short, anything BUT Wayne Newton!), but in the seedy Vegas of the early 60's. Any other company would be concerned about losing its audience which is comprised of kids discovering the magic of opera, clergy, and opera fans in general by interspersing a production with scantily clad dancers and pole dancing, but the Met pulled it off with its customary class and dignity, and although the libretto was translated to the syntax of gangsters of the period, the music was exactly the same and the sets and special effects didn't obscure the story, but rather, enhanced it. Unlike Sin City, what happens at the Met stays with you all your life, and face it, tigers, this RIGOLETTO hit the jackpot!


No, we didn't  get Kevin Kline,Ken Branagh, Ian McKellen, or any of the other great actors who are particularly linked with particularly memorable portrayals of Bill Shakespeare's tragic characters when Lincoln Center presented its recent production of the drama which has been referred to as "the Scottish play,", but Ethan Hawke ain't too shabby when it comes to playing the King of Scotland, I refer, of course, to MACBETH. In true Shakespearean tradition, men played the witches, and the highlight of the afternoon was the Porter's soliloquy, during which audience participation was not only encouraged, but also required.
To paraphrase the Bard himself, this MACBETH was a tale told by talented performers, full of sound and fury, signifying everything.


If AMERICAN HUSTLE (R) was a pretty girl, and if were as beautiful as EITHER Amy Adams who makes a clean (or should I say, dirty) break from her usual roles to play a British con artist OR Jennifer Lawrence who plays a put-upon housewife, I would MARRY it in a New York minute. This David O. Russell-directed dramedy is based on the actual Abscam events during which an FBI operative exposed corruption in New Jersey with the help of a phony Arab dignitary. Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Christian Bale also turn in exemplary performances, and despite one historical inaccuracy, this movie authentically portrays the 1978 disco world in which it was set. Not only can you hear the music of the era, but as there was a great degree of nostalgia for classic jazz during that time, the legendary Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington also graces the soundtrack. If this movie doesn't get an Oscar, there is no justice in this world!

I would DATE ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES (PG-13) because while there are times when it tries SOOOOO HARD to be a scathing indictment of the TV news business and it tries to inject a little drama into the proceedings, it, like Mort Crim, the Detroit newsman who inspired Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy character,  accepts the fact that it is satire and very little else. The entire cast of the original ANCHORMAN returns, especially narrator and veteran journo Bill Kurtis, and despite a grossly inaccurate portrayal of MTV VJ J.J. Jackson by Kanye West, ANCHORMAN 2, while being nobody's front-page bold type headline, is still a pleasant afternoon at the movies, especially compared to...

...THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (2013,PG-13) which is my candidate for the DUMPster. James  Thurber's original story inspired a classic musical comedy starring the late, great Danny Kaye, and the
Saturday morning animation/live action series "The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty",but while Kitty was portrayed as a shy, good-natured cat who kept imagining himself as a super hero dedicated to ridding the world of  Tyrone, a bulldog who  served as the neighborhood bully, and Mitty is also famous as a mild-mannered shnook who mostly kept his fantasies to himself, Ben Stiller completely undermines the premise of the aforementioned prior productions and their muse by turning Mr. Mitty into a hero. Unlike Danny Kaye (and, to a lesser extent, Howard Morris, who gave Waldo Kitty his voice), Ben didn't exactly make my heart go "Ta-pocka-ta-pocka-ta-pocka-ta," a phrase used in the original short story and movie which, sadly, is conspicious by its absence, as are most of the laughs.


As many of you know, New York and New Jersey are the proud hosts of Super Bowl 48, which will be played on Feburary 2 at MetLife Stadium. Unfortunately, our hometown Jets and Giants aren't providing the battle for bragging rights many of us anticipated in September, but I'm going to pick Philly and New England for the game with the "Iggles" coming out on top.Many of you may also remember Dave Letterman's anecdotes about his Mom who kept telling him and his sibs, "I DO and DO and DO for you kids, and THIS is the thanks I get?!?!?" I feel that exact way about the Knicks and Rangers, who play at the beautifully transformed Madison Square Garden, but haven't given us, the long-suffering fans, the victory we, and the people who put so much time and energy into making the Garden look its absolute best, so richly deserve.


Happy New Year and Welcome Aboard to France and Italy, the two newest countries to join the Steve's Blog family, and I promise, no jokes about kisses or fries! (Oops, sorry, I almost got that pasta, and I promise, no more of THAT either!) Thanks for stopping by during the break, Malaysia,Brazil, and our old friends in the UK, and I hope to see you again in the New Year!

Thanks for reading the VERY FIRST Steve's Blog of 2014 and we'll meet you back here for the next pulse-pounding installment during which I'll reveal my rip-roaring resolutions. (Good luck with yours, SERIOUSLY!)

Again, I would like to wish you the Happiest of New Years, AND...