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( 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...