Wednesday, January 27, 2016

162 Hey, Didn't You Used To Be...

A funny thing (Funny odd, not funny ha-ha.) happened today as I was crossing 36th Street in Manhattan disguised as a mild-mannered messenger for a Great Metropolitan Messenger Company. I noticed a gentleman who looked VERY much like David Gregory, the former anchor of NBC's Meet The Press (Insert "If it's Wednesday..." joke here.), fill in for Don Imus after MSNBC and CBS Radio dumped him over the notorious comment concerning the Rutgers University women's basketball team, (This is a family blog.) White House correspondent, and source of controversy (interviews with Wayne LaPierre, President of the National Rifle Association, and independent journalist Glenn Greenwald) and I shouted, "David?" He smiled, "Hi." Don't know what he was doing on THIS side of the Amtrak to Newport News with stops in Secaucus, Newark, Princeton Junction, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and of course, Washington, but I'm sure it was something important. (Hope it was either mounting an independent presidential campaign or announcing that he was running as Mike Bloomberg's Vice President. What a ticket THAT would be!)

If you read IDOL TALK 1 in our sister blog Welcome To Steve Country, ( ), you'll know that Kanye West and his unindicted Ko-Konspirator (whose name I will not mention because I know people are sick of her and her family,and I don't blame 'em) infiltrated the AMERICAN IDOL auditions. Well, he claims his new album, WAVES, will be the greatest album in the history of music. What about this thing called "Thriller" by a guy named Jackson? What about "Please Please Me" by four guys from Liverpool including this guy I saw in Albany?  What about "Tapestry" by this gal who has a musical at the Stephen Sondheim Theater?What about John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" and Dave Brubeck's "Time Out?" What about "Born To Run" by this guy from Jersey or "Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash?" What about "Pet Sounds" by The Beach Boys or "Come Dance With Me" by Frank Sinatra? This group operating on 65th Street called the Metropolitan Opera has also turned out some decent albums, what about them, or my CWPF Judy Collins who has knocked a few out of the park? Kanye, old buddy, old pal, you are NOT Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Pablo Picasso, or Beethoven, so, PLEASE keep that ego in check, OK?

I love country music, but I have a trainer, who I also love and who won't let me near Kentucky Fried Chicken, so, if there's anybody out there who's had their new Nashville Hot Chicken, shoot me an email at and I'll use the best review. (The best one will win a special custom made Steve's Blog No-Prize, retail value, PRICELESS!)

Speaking of food and country music, my new favorite country singer Tara Thompson, during her first professional visit to NYC, told a funny story about her first EVER visit here. She was here with her sister, and they couldn't leave without pizza, so they had pizza EVERY day, until she looked at the box...and recoiled in horror. She screamed, "WE HAVE SBARRO IN NASHVILLE!"
I would like to recommend a REAL New York pizzeria, which happens to be in my nabe of Murray Hill (25th and Third to be exact) called Rocky Slims. Zagat says it's a "welcome addition," but I'm sure you'll be too busy trying to talk with your mouth full to say anything. Visit or call 212-889-4663, and mangia!

As a great rodent once said, "Seeya REAL soon!"
Steve out!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

161 The Snow, The Garden, And Other Things

First of all, I would like to say Howdy to the many Steve Country fans joining this fine blog, and I would like to address the issue of "New York Values."

As the Blizzard of '16 showed, the values New Yorkers exemplify most are persistence, respect (such as the kind we showed Mayor DeBlasio and Governor Cuomo when they told us in no uncertain terms to stay inside), charity (towards motorists stranded on the road and the 130 homeless who agreed to be sheltered) and resillience. (We're not going to let a silly little thing like a blizzard stop US from going back to work and school, are we?) BTW, in 1973, New York Mayor John Lindsay proclaimed Country Music Day in New York and praised the music for its patriotism, beauty, and realism, so don't let anybody, politician or pundit, tell you otherwise about New York Values, and, PLEASE, let that sleeping dog lie.

Speaking of the Blizzard of '16, although Washington got the brunt of it, Nashville and New York were equally walloped. Although the pictures of the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry House covered in snow were undeniably beautiful, they were also the undeniable result of one of the worst storms since Hurricane Sandy's reign (rain?) of terror in 2012, which turned out to be the second biggest blizzard in New York history. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, if you're reading, could you PLEASE arrest Queen Elsa of Arendelle for crimes against the City of New York? (The reader is referred to the Disney movie FROZEN.) If it's any consolation, Spring is almost two months away.

Returning to the "New York Values" political football, (Almost speaking of which, congrats to the Alabama Crimson Tide for rolling over the Clemson Tigers and winning the College Football Playoffs (presented by AT&T) National Championship, and good luck to the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots. Hope to see you guys at Super Bowl 50!) contrary to popular belief, we are NOT too jaded to enjoy a rootin' tootin' rip-snortin' time at the rodeo, such as the Professional Bull Riders' recent appearance at Madison Square Garden. If you haven't seen these guys, (First of all, WHY?) these are the most daring athletes on four hooves (each belonging to a bull), and each show has more excitement and danger than TEN Hollywood blockbusters put together.It's a little bit country ,a WHOLE lot of rock n'roll,and DEFINETLY NOT boring! Get ready, Nashville, 'cause these dudes are riding towards the Bridgestone Arena where they'll be on August 19-20. For tickets and live streams, lasso your mouse and click over to . You can also check out the action on CBS Sports Network and the CBS SPORTS SPECTACULAR on your local CBS station.(Before that, the NHL All-Star Game skates into the same arena next week, and you can get tix for THAT one at or check it out on NBC.)

I'd like to welcome new Steve Country citizens Brandy Clark (who co-wrote Miranda Lambert's megahit "Mama's Broken Heart" and has more than a few hits of her own) and Tara Thompson (a self-described "hillbilly" from Nashville who's getting her own career off the ground), both of whom were recently in the Big Apple as part of CMT's "Next Women of Country" tour. Thanks for your support, ladies, and welcome aboard! (I'm STILL waiting to hear from Kenny Rogers and Hillary and Charlie from Lady Antebellum. I know you're out there somewhere!)

Good luck to Blake Shelton as he hosts Nickelodeon's 2016 Kids' Choice Awards in March! Any friend of SpongeBob' know the rest.

Hate to end this on a downer, but my thoughts and prayers go out to Maite D., one of 190 Hollywood-bound American Idol contestants, who has a day job as a DJ in Anchorage, AK, which has been devastated by a 7.1 earthquake which has destroyed at least one home. Sing up a storm and stay safe,girlfriend!

I realize I haven't gotten around to my 2016 predictions, but you WILL get them, one way or the other, as well as another edition of IDOL TALK in the Steve Country blog, convienently located at .

Steve out!

Friday, January 1, 2016

156 Welcome Back, My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends...

Happy 2016, Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome back to the flagship of the Steve's Blog line. Hope you had a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Good Kwanzaa, Happy Solstice, or a Wonderful Whatever. Our next pulse-pounding pulse will present my peerless predictions for the year to come, but first, how did you enjoy your holiday?

After I left you by naming Smiling Stan Lee, the nicest guy in comics, the nicest newsmaker of 2015 and ISIS the naughtiest, (and foisting a review of Judy Collins' excellent Metropolitan Museum concert upon an unsuspecting, but grateful, I hope,) populace I received a lot of great books for the holidays (and many of them will be reviewed in Steve's Book Blog within the coming weeks) and saw three of the new holiday movies that were NOT set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. (I WILL get to that one while it's still new, trust me.)

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP Jason Lee returns as Alvin, Simon, and Theodore's manager David Seville and informs the boys that he's been seeing a cute doctor (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) and that they (he and the doc) are flying to Miami and he's taking a ring with him. Don't put a ring on this one, stick with either DVD's of the original 60's cartoon or DVD's of the 80's reboot. (SPOILER ALERT: In a sappy effort to keep the franchise relevant, Dave adopts the boys.)

CREED To get ready for my upcoming trip to Philadelphia (for America's Big Two-Four-Oh on July 4th, natch.), I saw this absorbing drama continuing the adventures of a Philly institution, Rocky Balboa, played by the one and only Sylvester Stallone. In this knockout, Rock befriends the son of his friend and one-time opponent, Apollo Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan (no relation to His Airness, although he wears Emjay's logo on his hoodie), and accompanies him to Liverpool as they face their greatest possible challenge, and no, no surviving Beatles were harmed in the making of this motion picture! Phylicia Rashad also delivers a heavyweight performance as young (Adonis) Creed's mom. Look for cameos from ESPN's PTI guys Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser. (Lovin' you, boys, but don't quit your day jobs!)

DADDY'S HOME Any man can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a dad. Without giving any of the story away, that's the moral of this heartwarming, hilarious, and just a LITTLE raunchy dramedy starring Will Ferrell as a step-dad to two kids who barely tolerate him and Mark Wahlberg as their natural dad. Linda Cardellini does a great job as the mom/referee in this duel of the dads, and Hamilton Burress also turns in a great comic performance as an Angie's List handyman who gets caught up in this intra-family feud. Will Ferrell stays classy in this one!

Join us next time for our peerless predictions, and DO stop by Steve Country for the acceptance speeches for the Stevie Awards and some other great stuff.

Happy New Year!

Steve out!