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!