Saturday, April 23, 2016

Don't Try This At Home!

I don't mean to spoil the Prince pity party, (You've probably either read my tribute or you're about to.) but one possible cause of death is drugs, and if you remember the tragic end of Michael Jackson, you'll remember he was prescribed a lot of painkillers by a well-meaning doctor, and those hastened a tragic ending. That, and his reputation with young boys, did not exactly contribute positively to an otherwise sterling reputation as an artist. Similarly, Prince is also known for his affairs with stars such as Charlize Theron, who, reportedly was working on a new album with His Royal Badness. (Did anybody see that SNL musical number when the entire cast sang that while Charlize can slip out of different accents and play different characters, she COULDN'T sing? What's up with that?)

Many talented people, such as my CWPF Judy Collins, country legend Larry Gatlin, and Paul McCartney, have broken the grip of drugs over their lives. Others such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin weren't as lucky. If only Prince had joined the latter camp and had lived to be as old as Merle Haggard and Sonny James (ATTENTION PEOPLE WHO THINK NASHVILLE IS ONLY THE NAME OF A GREAT TV SHOW AND, THEREFORE, HAVE HEARD THOSE NAMES FOR THE FIRST TIME: Click over to for complete details on their wonderful lives and a few more surprises.), he would truly deserve all the adulation what a certain Ms. Palin calls the "lamestream media" has been giving him lately. (Guilty, your honor!)

So, all you budding musicians out there, it's OK if you want to be the kind of humanitarian/ pop powerhouse Michael Jackson was (Heck, you can be all that PLUS a better dad!) or rock-soul star Prince was sans all the erotic lyrics and don Juan reputation, but do not, and I mean DO NOT, try to emulate the kind of lifestyle they lived when the lights went down and the cheering stopped. I don't mean to trivialize the death of somebody who touched a lot of lives, but it would have been a whole lot better if he improved his own life first!

UP NEXT: Belated congratulations to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (Grumble,grumble.) on winning New York State. As the primaries move to Pennsylvania and Connecticut, I will share my favorite tourist places in the Keystone State and the Nutmeg State. (Hill won when I recommended my faves in NYS. Coincidence? I think not.)


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Long Live The Prince

It's our sad duty to report that Prince Rogers Nelson, better known by his first name,passed away in his Minneapolis, MN-area home and recording studios after dealing with flu-like symptoms for several weeks. He leaves this world at the tender age of 57, born less than  one month after this reporter (Steve=May 19, Prince=June 7) in Minneapolis proper. He released his first album, FOR YOU, in 1978 after several unsuccessful prior attempts.His first hit, "I Wanna Be Your Lover," came the following year, with the albums DIRTY MIND, CONTROVERSY, and 1999 following.

Prince was noted for his unique blend of disco,soul, hip hop and rock, apparently influenced by such diverse sources as George Clinton (Parliament-Funkadelic),John Lennon,Carlos Santana,Jimi Hendrix Little Richard,,and  James Brown, and flavored with sexually suggestive lyrics. He has won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. ROLLING STONE placed him at Number 27 on their chart of the Greatest Artists of All Time.

Prince was named for his father (John Lewis) who performed jazz under the stage name Prince Rogers. His most significant music frequently appeared on the Billboard charts in the 1980's, and in 1984, he made his motion picture debut in the Oscar winning PURPLE RAIN, whose soundtrack spawned the title hit, "WHEN DOVES CRY,"and "LET'S GO CRAZY." The "Sgt. Pepper-" inspired AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY held the Number One position on the album chart, and his "MANIC MONDAY" was a hit for the Bangles, but PARADE had the dubious honor of being the soundtrack album for the Golden Raspberry Award (the Anti-Oscars, presented for the worst movies) winning UNDER THE CHERRY MOON, starring Prince and British actress Kristin Scott Thomas.

In the 1990's Prince changed his name to an unpronouncable symbol and asked to be referred to as  either "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince" or "The Artist." His Royal Badness recorded under his new identity until 2000 when he became Prince again. He played at Super Bowl XLI in Miami and released several albums before his last, HITnRUN Phase One.

Prince's songwriting ran the gamut from the sacred ("4 The Tears In Your Eyes") to the profane ("Erotic City") to the just plain crazy ("Anotherloverholeinyahead"), but he always used that sound which, while a hybrid of different influences, he made his own. In Shakespeare's plays, it always storms when a king dies. Today it rains in our  heart, and it is indeed, a purple rain.

R.I. P, Prince

The blogger presently known as Steve

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

No Way To Treat A Lady!

Michael Strahan, you should be ashamed of yourself for dumping Kelly Ripa! Yeah, I know, you're still working for Disney/ABC and they love you over at GOOD MORNING AMERICA, but YOU JUST JOINED HER! (True, it's been four years, but it seems like only yesterday.) I used to love you when you were a New York Giant, (especially that Snickers commercial when that Cowboys fan teased you and you scared him out of his ten-gallon hat) and I still think you're one of FOX' best pregame reporters, but you and "Pippa" were just made for each other, you kept switching straight man and stooge roles, and you were great morale boosters. I understand why the Kelster missed her show today. If I had a valuable partner who proved himself to be a great host when it came to hosting two shows, I would support him or her unreservedly, and I would understand if you told our national audience you wanted to leave, but Stray, to call you a cold-hearted snake would be an insult not only to Paula Abdul but cold-hearted snakes everywhere! If the circumstances were different, I would have taken a page from the book of GMA's founding anchor and said, "Go out and make it a great day!" BUUUUUUUT, to quote another famous Disney employee, a certain Mr. Thumper, if you can't say somethin' nice....
Steve out!
P.S. Congratulations to Wonder Woman Clinton, well played, Jovial John, and as for Dumb Donald, if you can't say somethin' nice...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Start Spreading The News!

This Tuesday, New York State goes to the polls to pick a choice for President of these United States. (Stevie the Geek's Lead Pipe Picks: Hillary R. Clinton for the Dems, and John Kasich for the GOP. The less said about the guy with the weird hair and loud mouth, the better!) and we've been given some decent weather in which to head to our local polling station. (If you're over 18 and registered, VOTE! If you're over 18 and NOT registered, PLEASE rectify that oversight.)

However, of primary concern to this fine blog as spring finally makes its presence felt and summer grows ever closer is the pulse-pounding potpourri of sights to see in this justly named Empire State.
For example, in June, the eyes of the sports world focus on the normally peaceful small town of Elmont in Nassau County, Long Island as Belmont Park hosts the concluding race in the Visa Triple Crown Challenge, the Belmont Stakes, and although it's too early to predict a winner on the track, you're in for a winning time at Beautiful Belmont itself. There's food to satisfy every palate, (Bring your appetite, but leave your diet at home!) personal appearances from winning jockeys from past years, supervised play for the little ones, and this year, a special post-race concert from American Idol Top 10 artist Chris Daughtry and his eponymous band. (You can also visit Yonkers Raceway and Aqueduct. One major advantage THEY have over Belmont is casinos, but THAT may change. Stay tuned!) Tickets have been known to fly out the door, so log on to PRONTISSIMO!

With all the headlines about all those crazy people in Albany, (our state capital) one may be tempted to hop on Amtrak (from Penn Station, 7th and 8th Avenues from 31st to 34th Street) or Go Greyhound (from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, 8th between 40th and 42nd) to check it out, and while it  DOES have plenty to see, from Empire State Plaza to the New York State Museum and Library, Washington Park, the Albany Institute of History and Art, the Times-Union Center,(home of the Albany Devils), Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy, (home of the Houston Astros' affiliate, the Tri-City Valleycats, and BTW, Schenectady is the third of the Tri-Cities) and, of course, the New York State Capitol, (The guided tour is recommended.) it's best to start in Albany and take a trip out to Saratoga to either see the horses at the racetrack or  Saratoga Performing Arts Center, summer home of the New York City Ballet and Philadelphia Orchestra,Cooperstown, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (and ironically, more like New York City than Albany if only because of the large community of Yankees and Mets fans that either call it home or visit to see highlights of each team's respective history) Glimmerglass Opera and museums, or the Berkshires, where you can see Pittsfield,MA, "the Brooklyn of the Berkshires" and home of the Berkshire Museum and Arrowhead, Herman Melville's residence, the beautiful small towns of Great Barrington and Lenox, and Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Norman Rockwell Museum, where you can not only see his iconic Saturday Evening Post covers but you can also see a veritable plethora of other exciting exhibits. If you DO have this great need to visit Albany and NOWHERE ELSE, please be careful out there!

No,Jessica Simpson, buffalo don't have wings! The reason they're called "Buffalo Wings" is because Teressa Bellissimo first served these uniquely spicy chicken wings at the famous Anchor Bar in our second largest city, Buffalo, in 1964. (There are ONLY three Buffalo Wild Wings stores in the Buffalo area, and none of them are in Buffalo proper! INNNNTERESTING!) Since man does not live on wings alone, Buffalo is also the home of its own unique style of pizza, food from all over the world, and the birthplace of non-dairy whipped topping and General Mills cereals. (All silly rabbits are hereby reminded that Trix are still for kids!) Buffalo is also home to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Shea's Performing Arts Center,a diverse theater community, the Buffalo Philarmonic Orchestra (performing at Kleinhans Music Hall), music stars Rick James, Ani deFranco, the Goo Goo Dolls, the third oldest zoo in the United States, parks designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux (also known for Central Park), the NHL Buffalo Sabres, the NFL Buffalo Bills, the Blue Jays-affiliated Buffalo Bisons, women's hockey's Buffalo Beauts, the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, and, in case anybody's forgotten, it's THISCLOSE to Niagara Falls. The famous Maid of the Mist boat tour takes guests around the famous river from the American Falls to the Canadian Falls and back. Spring and Summer are the BEST times to shuffle off to Buffalo. Take it from a sports fan who knows, if you want to see your favorite team play the Sabres at First Niagara Center or the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, either take a LOT of cold winter clothing or stay at home and watch it on TV! (So easy, even Jessica Simpson can do it!)

Everybody talks about "the end of Broadway," but if you REALLY want to see the end of Broadway...go north of Sleepy Hollow (as in Washington Irving's "The Legend of...) in Westchester County, That's where the road we all know as Broadway terminates! Seriously! "The Golden Apple" is also the home of one of America's few government-owned amusement parks, Playland, New Roc City in New Rochelle (home of an indoor amusement park, Westchester's first IMAX theater, and Monroe College's athletic complex), the Westchester County Center and the D-League Knicks, (They lost in the playoffs to Sioux Falls in the First Round. Typical Knicks!), the Neuberger Museum of Art, the Westchester Jazz Orchestra, the Westchester Philharmonic, the Yonkers Public Library and other such fine literary institutions, and the Westchester Broadway Theater in Elmsford. (Broadway the road may end in Westchester, but Broadway, and Westchester are forever!)

BTW, elsewhere in the Hudson Valley, from August to late September, the New York Renaissance Festival turns the ski resort of Sterling Forest in Tuxedo into the Shire of Sterling where men are men and women are lucky! Buy your ticket WAY early, get your Middle Age finery ready, and prepare for folk songs, jousting, living history, and food portions bigger than you can imagine...or stomach if you're smart!

As the great Vanessa Williams once sang, I've saved the best for last...NEW YORK CITY, the Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps,the largest city in New York State and America, and the city where Huey Lewis once sang, "You can do half a million things, all at a quarter to three!" The home of the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers and Islanders. New York Public Library, New York Philharmonic, hip-hop industry, Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, Central Park....WHEW! Where else can you take a ferry to a small city where you can find a modern shopping mall, an authentic restoration of an American Revolutionary town, AND the home of the Yanks' minor league club? Brooklyn ain't too shabby either, what with the Mets' affiliates, the Cyclones, a revitalized Coney Island, Barclays Center, Jay-Z's gift to the people of Brooklyn which is seeing its first NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs thanks to the Isles, and a new and improved Yankee Stadium is drawing more fans than ever before, either because of or despite comedian John Oliver's campaign against premium-priced seating. BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT, my FAVORITE part of New York City is 31st to 34th Street in Manhattan, starting with NYU Langone Medical Center on First Avenue, continuing through the Empire State Building (the second largest building in Manhattan, after One World Trade Center, which is also worth a visit) on Fifth Avenue, Koreatown and Manhattan Mall on Broadway, and ending at Pennsylvania Plaza on Seventh and Eighth Avenues. It starts with Pennsylvania Station which is a great place to not only catch a train but also do some last minute shopping and grab a bite, (Be careful with the natives! If they get a little too out-of-control, PLEASE notify an Amtrak, MTA, or NY police officer immediately.) continues through 2 Penn Plaza (Don't miss the new Pennsy Food Court featuring top quality restaurants owned by Pat LaFrieda, Mario Battali, and Mary Giuliani, to name but a few!) and ends at Madison Square Garden, The World's Most Famous Arena! After the New York Rangers win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 22 years, (Hey, it COULD happen!) the women take over as the New York Liberty challenge the best in women's basketball. (And for the record, Broadway is by no means over! Check out Andrew Lloyd Webber's SCHOOL OF ROCK and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Disney's THE LION KING and ALADDIN,FIDDLER ON THE ROOF,WICKED,CHICAGO,FINDING NEVERLAND, the Radio City NEW YORK CITY SPECTACULAR from early June to early August, and leave the kids at home before you boldly go to AMERICAN PSYCHO: THE MUSICAL!)
REMEMBER, after you've voted for the candidate of your choice, elect to visit the Empire State! (First, visit THESE sites:

Steve out!

Monday, April 11, 2016

An Unbearable Passing

It was reported by The New York Times during this past weekend that Margaret Emily Noel "Peggy" Fortnum, best known for illustrating the adventures of Paddington, a Peruvian bear found by a British family at the railroad station that gave him his name, passed away on March 28. She was born on December 23,1919 in Harrow, Middlesex, UK and attended Turnbridge Wells School of Art (1939) and Central School of Arts and Crafts after recovering from wartime injuries.She illustrated eighty books including the first Paddington book and the basis for the recent movie, "A BEAR CALLED PADDINGTON" by Michael Bond. Our sincerest condolences to those fortunate to have known her, and the Paddington fans who can't bear to part with her beautiful illustrations.

Steve out!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

In The Ring With Steve

Since Mixed Martial Arts could FINALLY arrive in New York as early as this summer and WWE WrestleMania, "The Showcase Of The Immortals," is about to invade the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, I thought it would be cool to try this special blog focusing on all things boxing, wrestling, and MMA. On the card, the new play "THE ROYALE" and a look at Ronda Rousey's attempt at a return to greatness. So, for the millions and millions reading around the world, ladies and gentlemen...



Boxing at Lincoln Center? Sounds as ridiculous as the Julliard String Quartet at OzzFest, (Mr. Osborne's erstwhile annual hoedown at Madison Square Garden, among other venues), but believe it or not, the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater is the best place for boxing North of The World's Most Famous Arena, and no, friends,it doesn't cost anymore for a good ringside seat than a good front row orchestra seat. As a matter of fact, it's not for any established titles for any established boxing federation. It's a staged play, and an excellent staged play at that, called THE ROYALE. Set in 1905, a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG time before Manny Pacquiao, Oscar de la Hoya, and Muhammad Ali, (ANACHRONISM ALERT! The dialogue refers to radio coverage, but commercial radio wasn't available until 1923.), the play is less focused on the sweet science itself than on Jay "The Sport" Jackson, a stranger in his own land in the middle of Jim Crow, and his relationships with his trainer, his opponent, and his sister, as well as a still-segregated America. The reason why there are no EMTs at the ready with gurneys is that no actual punches are thrown (although Technicolor blood IS used in one scene). Khris Davis delivers a championship performance as Jay "The Sport" Jackson, a young man hellbent on becoming the HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORRRRRRRLD (Apologies for the Michael Buffer allusion, but I just COULDN'T resist.), Montego Glover from the hit musical MEMPHIS is equally hard-hitting as his sister Nina,and the book by Marco Ramirez fails to disappoint. This play has brought houses down and audiences to their feet in London, Chicago. Los Angeles and San Diego, and it's not hard to see why. This play packs a stronger punch pound for pound, but the final bell is scheduled to ring in May, so let your fingers do the shuffling to for ticket information! THE ROYALE is a royal KNOCKOUT!


THE surprise of the thirty-second renewal of WrestleMania, the Showcase of the Immortals, has to be....SHAQUILLE O'NEAL! Yep, you read right, Shaq Man himself entered the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and clobbered the Big Show and the demonic Kane before realizing he should have kept his day job as an NBA analyst with TNT. (BTW, Baron Corbin won the Battle Royal.)


Roman Reigns beat Triple H to win the World Heavyweight Championship.

Kalisto beat Ryback to retain the United States Championship.

The Usos beat the Dudley Boyz via pinfall.

Total Divas beat Bad & Blonde. (Brie Bella via submission)

Zach Ryder won the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match over Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, the Miz, Sami Zayn, Stardust, and Sin Cara.

Chris Jericho beat A.J. Styles via pinfall.

League of Nations beat New Day via pinfall.

Brock Lesnar beat Dean Ambrose via pinfall.

Charlotte (Flair) beat Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks to win the Women's Championship.

The Undertaker beat Shane McMahon in Hell of a Cell via pinfall.

The Rock beat Erick Rowan via pinfall.

Shawn Michaels
Stone Cold Steve Austin
John Cena
Mick Foley

While not exactly the best Mania of all time, this one was offered free on WWE Network. It's like they say, you get what you pay for! (Or not.)


Have you noticed lately that all WWE documentaries begin with a disclaimer that the WWE Superstars are fictional characters and that you should not confuse them with the performers who play them? NOW they tell us!


Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley, HBO PPV , Live from Las Vegas, April 9 (Check with your service provider.)
Charles Martin vs. Anthony Joshua, Showtime, Live from London, April 9
UFC FIGHT NIGHT Rothwell vs. Dos Santos April 12, 2 PM (Check with your service provider.)
WWE THURSDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN! Card to be announced USA April 7, 8 PM EST
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW For card information, visit USA, April 10, 8 PM EST

That's the bell! This preliminary IN THE RING WITH STEVE card is now over. Until next time, see you at the matches!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Welcome Back,Tracy Morgan. Now, Clean Up Your Act

On August 2, 1983 at 6:08 AM, a young disc jockey from Tampa named Michael Scott Shannon took the helm of what had been an easy listening station that had seen WAY better days (WVNJ, or as it called itself, WVNJoy by day and WVNJazz by night at 100.3 on the FM dial) and turned it into a hit radio juggernaut that not only filled the shoes of WABC Musicradio 77, but also created its own legacy. He called it WHTZ, pronounced "Hits," and nicknamed it Z100 as a tribute to  Stan Z. Burns, the legendary New York air personality. It was a shoestring operation consisting of Scott and his production manager J.R. Nelson, (Scott read the news directly from the Daily News.) but the highlight became the Z-Morning Zoo, an irreverent look at the news of the day featuring Scott, J.R., New York radio veteran Ross Brittain, (Scott's first official New York radio sidekick) professional journalist (and den mother/resident Rangers fan) Claire Stevens,public service director and sports reporter Jonathan B.Bell, and assistant public director Mr. Leonard, which catapulted Z100 into the hearts and minds not just of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, but also of America (thanks to Scott's ROCKIN' AMERICA TOP 30 COUNTDOWN) and the world (thanks to CNN). Yesterday, Scott and Ross reunited on WCBS-FM, Scott's current employer, for "Flashing Back To The 80's: A Morning Zoo Reunion," and the results were near perfection. Everybody at CBS-FM as well as Scott and Ross themselves are to be congratulated for the closest thing to time travel without a DeLorean.

Four years later, a programmer named Joel Salkowitz took the helm of a Z100 copycat called WAPP,or "The Apple," and turned it into HOT 103 FM, a dance-leaning CHR station which specialized in remixes and its own "Hot Mixes," using a format that made KPWR in LA a success because, as it boldly claimed, "New York Won't Stand Still For The Same Old Music!" Not too long after, HOT 103 and country station 97.1 WYNY switched frequencies, with HOT 97 continuing to duke it out with Z100 and 95.5 PLJ before eventually ditching the CHR format for a Hip-Hop based sound. Unfortunately (for them, mostly) they became better known for other things than music, such as racist comments against Asian-Americans and gunfights between rival posses, which earned them the nickname "Shot 97." (Fortunately, Scott has NEVER worked at a radio station where anybody has been shot.) One of HOT 97's many traditions has been the April Fool's Day Comedy Show at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, this year made even more interesting than the return to the New York stage of SNL veteran Tracy Morgan, who almost lost his life in a tragic traffic accident. The good news is that he's back and his timing has never been better. The bad news is he told so many blue so-called "jokes" that I almost thought he was a Smurf. The same applied to the rest of the comics on the bill, and co-headliner (and Atlanta DJ) Rickey Smiley was better...up to a point when he turned blue. But he DID bring me to my feet...and outside the theater, and onto the escalator, and onto the street.


CBS-FM 101.1 (on a scale of 10)
Shot 97           0

Bye Buckaroos!