Thursday, August 10, 2017

205 OOPS!

When I said that GLOBAL FORCE WRESTLING is better than RING OF HONOR and mentioned its minor league baseball connections, I should have explained ROH has wrestled at MCU Park, the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, the minor league New York Mets team, and neither the Clones or the Mutts have been doing so well lately, which is not such a good reflection on ROH, which IS being aired on NESN these days. My apologies to ROH, NESN, and all ROH, Sox and Bruins fans! (No apologies to Mets fans, I'm just telling it like it is.)

Almost nobody has heard of a brilliant musician named Franklin Enea , (Visit him on http://www.frankeneaband.com or follow him @FrankEneaBand), but that could very well change as a result of a four-part mini series on Cartoon Network starring the Teen Titans (in their mostly comic TEEN TITANS GO! iteration) called "The Night Begins To Shine." It concerns a song written by Frank and his partners Carl Burnett and William J. Reidy (collectively known as BER and NOT pronounced Bear) which was originally used in a segment of the show with the aforementioned title. This time, the song is the focal point of a story about a dragon who controls a fantasy world and holds the half-human-half-machine member of the group, Cyborg, hostage, until he hands the song over. (You gotta see it to believe it, and even still, you won't believe it!) Great animation, a rockin' 80's-style title song, graphics influenced by anime,classic album covers, and artists such as Mobeius, Jack Kirby, Frank Frazetta and Charles Vess, and guest voices from Cee-Lo (AMERICAN IDOL, "Crazy,", "Forget You") and the group Fall Out Boy (Fall Out Boy was originally the name of the sidekick of Bart Simpson's favorite super hero, Radioactive Man, the leader of the Teen Titans, Robin, is Batman's sidekick, you call THAT a coincidence!?!?), along with a lesson on the power of music and the power of friendship. For information on re-airings, go to http://www.cartoonnetwork.com or order it on demand from your cable or satellite provider. Not only can BER make your night shine, but they can possibly make the rest of your summer, or, possibly your life,shine.(Fans of CN's edgier AdultSwim shows will also dig this one!)

Remember, Welcome to Steve Country is coming back soon with a special tribute to Glen Campbell, so...

Stay tuned, Buckaroos!
Steve

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

204 Talking Basebrawl

BUT,FIRST:

We are sorry to report the untimely passing of country crossover superstar Glen Campbell. Details to come on the all-new, all-different WELCOME TO STEVE COUNTRY.

Any NBA fan may remember that bizarre night in 2004 when a group of rowdy Indiana Pacers fans heckled the Detroit Pistons. You'd expect the boys from the Motor City to ignore those hayseeds and keep playing like the pros they are, right? WRONG! They were so riled up that they walked right into the stands and started beating up poor, defenseless fans whose only crime was investing their hard-earned money in a game allegedly played by people who know how to conduct themselves in a professional manner.

Say what you will about professional wrestlers, but they care too much about their fans to run into the stands and start attacking them like a pack of wild dogs. (Sure, the heels, which is what they call the bad guys, may insult the fans who love to cheer the hero and hiss the villain, but that's part of their character. They know the fans know they're not seeing them as they really are, but, as Stone Cold Steve Austin once said, them "with the volume turned up." On August 5, I had the pleasure to be part of the immersive entertainment experience called professional wrestling when Global Force Wrestling invaded the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George, the home of the Staten Island Yankees. While this company is based in Nashville, TN, don't expect to hear any Garth Brooks or Florida-Georgia Line when their grapplers rush into the ring, because the action is more heavy metal than hillbilly, and the fans are TOTALLY involved, whether buying their favorite babyface (good guy) or heel (T-shirt) getting an autograph, or (unless they have to catch the Staten Island Ferry home like yours truly) getting into the Octagon and taking a picture with their favorite superstars. Among the talent that got to play while the Baby Bombers were away were Andrew Everett, Sonjay Dutt, (X Division Champion who had to literally fight to get his stolen belt back), two-time Grand Champion Moose, and, Impact's own powerful women of wrestling, including rising young superstar Allie, who may enter the ring wearing a tiara and a bunny outfit but can kick your butt eleven different ways into next Tuesday if you cross her. The difference between Global Force, formerly known as Impact and now a part of Nashville-based Anthem Sports and Entertainment, and the WWE is that GFW doesn't take itself as seriously as the WWE has been known to. IMHO, GFW made the right choice when it chose to hook up with the minor league affiliate of the currently red hot Yankees. Its closest non-WWE competitor, Ring Of Honor, may have awakened some fan interest as a result of the Mickey Rourke movie THE WRESTLER, but when one of your biggest major market affiliates (NESN, owned by the Red Sox and Bruins) dumps you, that doesn't look too good on your permanent record.

For info on future Impact/GFW cards, follow them @IMPACTWRESTLING or  @GFWWrestling. For info on weekly telecasts on CBS-Lionsgate-owned POP TV, log on to http://www.poptv.com and enter your ZIP Code in the window.

To paraphrase the aforementioned Stone Cold, "The bottom line is...." Not being attacked by angry athletes while you're trying to enjoy a sporting event, good. Enjoying the best in sports entertainment, meeting some great people, and being part of the action without enduring physical injury, even better.

DING! There's the bell! See ya at the matches! (IN THE RING WITH STEVE fans, we haven't forgotten about you either. THAT is also coming soon to a device near you!)

Steve

Friday, July 28, 2017

203 Fear of A Purple Planet

Today, a few judgments about the alleged "judgment-free zone."

BUT, FIRST...

NOW IN THEATERS

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING Starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Zendaya Coleman,Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey, Jr., and Gwyneth Paltrow

Poor Peter Parker, always getting the short end of the stick! Despite a few well-intentioned efforts, he and his wall-crawling alter ego, Spider-Man, never got the kind of game-changing movie the Distinguished Competition gave ITS three biggest superstars, (DAWN OF JUSTICE does NOT count!), but SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING may very well be that movie. Continuing where CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR leaves off, HOMECOMING cuts right to the chase and shows Spidey (Holland) not as a super hero who happens to be a teenager, but a teenager who happens to be a super hero. Not only does he have to deal with his persnickety mentor Tony Stark (Downey), his friend Michelle (Zendaya), his beloved Aunt May who, unfortunately, hates Spidey to pieces (an incredibly sexy for the character Tomei), and Adrian Toomes, a Stark employee who decides he's had enough and becomes that flying felon, the villainous Vulture ( Keaton, playing a different kind of Birdman). We don't just see Spidey in action, we BECOME him, and share his amazement that he is actually part of this weird and wonderful place called the Marvel Universe. Of course, he still has to find out that with great power there must also come great responsibility, but the movie doesn't hit you over the head with that message. Yes, all you Dukes of Doubt out there, (Google him!) there ARE truly great super hero movies, and HOMECOMING is unquestionably one of them.

NOW ON VIDEO

SABAN'S POWER RANGERS Featuring Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa and Bill Hader as Alpha

Other than cameos from former Pink Ranger Amy Jo Johnson and Green/White/Red/Black Ranger Jason David Frank, this Power-less Ranger reboot has little to recommend it. Rent the original Rangers movie, TURBO, and Seasons One (Mighty Morphin) and Twelve (Dino Thunder) instead. No-No, "POWER RANGERS!"

SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE With The Voice Talents Of Mandy Patinkin (Papa Smurf), Demi Lovato (Smurfette), Danny Pudi (Brainy), Jack McBrayer (Clumsy),Joe Mangienello (Hefty) Jake Johnson (Grouchy),Jeff Dunham (Farmer) ,Gordon Ramsay (Baker),Tituss Burgess (Vanity),Kelly Asbury (Nosey), Rainn Wilson (Gargamel), Frank Welker (Azrael), Julia Roberts (Willow) , Ariel Winter (Lily),Meghan Trainor (Melody),Michelle Rodriguez (Stormy), Ellie Kemper (Blossom), and Dee Bradley Baker (Gargy's pet "howlibird," Monty)

I was prepared to fold my arms and shout, "I HATE THE LOST VILLAGE!" like Grouchy Smurf after seeing what Jordan Kerner and company did to Pierre "Peyo" Culliford's lovable little blue "children" in the live-action movies THE SMURFS and THE SMURFS 2, but this is one reboot that respects the original mythology while updating it for a new generation. I've been a Smurfophile since I saw four Smurf figurines on the cover of jazz musician Chick Corea's "Friends" album, (I thought they were leprechauns since Chick had been called "The Leprechaun" after his jazz tone poem of the same name.) but it took me a long time to realize that  Smurfette is the product of her male chauvinist Belgian environment of 1958, when she was created. The movie opens with Papa (Mandy Patinkin from EVITA, THE PRINCESS BRIDE, CHICAGO HOPE, and so many others, picking up where the late, great Jonathan Winters left off) reminding us that 99 of his dear little Smurfs are what their names say they are (Brainy, Jokey, Clumsy, Handy, Hefty, Grouchy), but we wonder what exactly, the real star of this movie, Smurfette, is. We know what  a Smurf is, but what is an -ette? And,furthermore, or, should I say, smurfer-more, since she was made by Gargamel to lure the Smurfs in his direction, is she really a Smurf at all?

After a series of events, Smurfette discovers a lost village occupied by other Smurfs, and they turn out to be women. Julia Roberts proves more than the equal of Papa Smurf as the girls' leader, Smurf Willow, and smurf-tacular performances from the likes of Ariel Winter ("Modern Family" and "Sofia The First"), Michelle Rodriguez ("The Fast and the Furious"), "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt" castmates Ellie Kemper and Tituss Burgess, and Meghan Trainor ("It's All About The Bass") among others. I can understand why Peyo's daughter Veronique greenlit (or, should I say, "blue-lit"?) this super smurfy reboot. It's entertaining for the young and young at heart and empowering for girls and women who want to know who they really are. The Smurfs may be blue, but two hours in THE LOST VILLAGE, and YOU won't be.

BREAKING NEWS

Before I go any further, I MUST convey the sad news that June Foray,(June Lucille Forer) who played  the voice of Jokey on the TV show as well as Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Peabody's "pet boy" Sherman, George of the Jungle's wife Ursula, Tweety's "Gwanny" and so many other iconic cartoon characters,passed away on July 28 of complications resulting from an automobile accident. She would have celebrated her 100th birthday (Ironically, the life expectancy of a Smurf) on September 18th of this year. I had the pleasure to meet her at the Creation comic convention in 1982, and she was more than happy to "turn into" Jokey for me and her other fans. To borrow a line from Rocky, hokey smokes, am I gonna miss June Foray! The characters will live on forever, but nobody can truly replace her.

AND NOW, OUR FEATURE PRESENTATION

In 1996, a youngster named Derek Sanderson Jeter brought a World Series victory back to New York and the legendary House That Ruth Built, Yankee Stadium. Until his retirement from the game in 2014, Derek led the New York Yankees, especially his team mates Andy Pettite, Mariano Rivera, and Robinson Cano, on an incredible winning streak that brought the Pinstripers' World Series record to 27 victories, the most since the competition began in 1903. Derek believed in giving back to the community, and one of those gifts was 24 Hour Fitness, the world's largest group of  privately-ownedfitness centers. When Derek joined other such sports stars as Shaquille O'Neal (Miami)and Andre Agassi (Las Vegas) as the owner of the original three New York city clubs, (Madison Square Park, Midtown, and Soho), I jumped at the chance to come aboard, and I've had almost ten great years training with people who know their stuff and steered me away from my old junk-food junkie habits. (It took a long time, but, hey, they helped make it happen!)

Some 21 years after Derek became the Yankees' captain and eight years after I joined 24 (I've remained loyal despite a few flirtations.) I was watching a Rangers playoff telecast on Madison Square Garden Network, their co-owned home broadcaster (although James Dolan, their owner, is considering a sale) when I noticed  a small version of the logo, usually a large purple-and-yellow mix of a yellow thumbs-up sticking out of a purple gear, of Planet Fitness, a franchised fitness chain that styles itself as "the judgement-free zone". I remembered that there was a Planet at the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, the official hotel of the Garden's WNBA franchise, the New York Liberty, and I wondered if, since Derek turned his 24 centers into the latest New York "in" place and helped 24 become the Yanks' official fitness center (It still sponsors the Damon Runyon 5k at Yankee Stadium although Orange Theory, which is known for one of the most rigorous training programs in the industry, has become an official Yankee sponsor and fitness center.) did Henrik Lundquist, Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan, and my other favorite Rangers, make the Planet part of their training regimen? (I was thinking of using it too during an intended sleepover at the Ren because it was so close to work and I was thinking of going out to Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ to see the Red Bulls play the San Jose Earthquakes, staying the whole match, and working out at the Planet after resting my happily tired bones, but you can score THAT match Nervous Jewish Mother-1, Red Bulls-0. As you are about to see, she had a point!) Since the Planet had used the Rangers to publicize their umpteenth $1-to-join-$10-a-month sale, I asked them, did the Rangers, Knicks, and Billy Joel (the Garden's first musical resident) use it regularly? The answer? (WAIT FOR IT, WAIT FOR IT...)

No.

After a few workouts, I can understand why. The gym is awash in garish purples and empty platitudes, ("The world judges. We don't. Be free.") it gives out free food, (bagels,pizza and Tootsie Rolls) there are reports of gyms refusing to let their members cover their heads as their religions dictate, trainers who ARE very judgmental despite the "judgment-free" claim, homeless people using their restrooms, and while Derek, Shaq, Jon Bon Jovi, Meg Ryan,(I'll have what she's having!) and John Mellencamp are all known to be 24 fans, the biggest star to have had his name associated with the Planet is Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, a drug-dealer-turned-rapper who sold his fitness drink, Street King (You can't teach an old dog new tricks!) through the Planet, which also happens to be the official fitness sponsor of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. (THAT particular broadcast transmitted Mariah Carey's notorious NYE breakdown to an unsuspecting universe. You are known by the company you keep!) Sure, Donnie Wahlberg and one of New York's best DJ's, Brooklyn's Own Joe Causi, follow their Twitter feed, but I'm not convinced that it's for any reason other than personal financial gain.

Planet FITNESS? HA! My 24 trainer Julie calls it Planet F as in Planet Fail, as in EPIC Fail! After seeing those El Cheapo T-shirts available in your choice of black-on-white or white-on-black (How creative!) and not meeting anybody YUGE other than the occasional woman's basketball player, it has become apparent that this is, despite its well-intentioned  attempts, NOT a good place for a total workout, one that truly shows concern for your physical (and even mental) well-being. Julie's fellow trainer Raechel calls it "the Purple Planet," which reminds me of another terrible place, Planet Purple, a planet discovered by the resident con artist of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Lady Elaine Fairchilde, where all the men are named Paul and the women are Pauline and they do exactly the same thing (including speak in a monotone). Thank goodness I got out of THAT Planet Purple unscathed, but I worry for those who choose the Planet who think it's more for common people like them as opposed to Schwarzenegger-esque bodybuilders.

There are SOME good things about Planet Fitness: It has HDTV on the bikes, you get free Bic pens, they sponsored THE BIGGEST LOSER, (It just got cancelled by NBC. BIIIIIIG surprise!)and...and...and...I got nothing.

Bottom line is, if you want to lose a few LB's, try a more reputable gym like 24 or check your local BBB branch for a gym which is affordable AND truly committed to your success, not one that believes the best way to help you lose weight is to fatten you up and THEN open up a can of whoop-butt on your plump,out of shape, blubbery mass. If you want to join Planet F, I have just one question...

What planet are you from?

Bye, Buckaroos!
Steve



Saturday, July 22, 2017

202 Comings And Goings

Show of hands, who here remembers a weekly PBS financial news show called WALL $TREET WEEK WITH LOUIS RUKYSER which actually originated down the road from that legendary thoroughfare in Lower Manhattan in Owings Mills, MD? It took the air on the full public television system and featured noted financial pundits (In Louis' case, you'd have to accent the PUN in PUN-dit because, like yours truly, he loved to play with words.) talking about everything from Watergate to the Middle East Crisis to Sizzler Restaurants. (This was when they were a publicly-held company and you could easily buy STEAK in it.) In 2002, FORTUNE magazine took editorial control over the show and Louis hosted a similar, short-lived program on CNBC. W$W continued on PBS until 2005, and was  resurrected in 2015 by SkyBridge Media LLC, an affiliated entity of SkyBridge Capital, with SkyBridge CEO Anthony Scaramucci at the anchor desk. In '16, FOX picked up the rights, and "The Mooch", as his friends call him, anchored the show on FOX Business until he quit over conflict-of-interest issues arising from his participation in the Trump campaign.

On July 21,2017, Mooch took the reins as the Trump administration's communications director with Sarah Huckabee Sanders assisting as press secretary, and I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that Louis Rukyser could have done a WAAAAAAAAAY better job with half his brain tied behind his back. Well, at least Sean Spicer is out as chief mouthpiece, but that also means no more Melissa McCarthy impressions on SNL. (SOB!) I'm sure SOMEBODY's going to cook up a kick-butt impression of old Moochie for SNL. If a guy cried out for a parody, it's that one.

While Mooch steps up to the plate and joins the Trumpeteers in their continuing quest to make our lives a living H-E-double-hockey-sticks, a lot of great people have left us, such as Chester Bennington from the alt-rock group Linkin Park, MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE actor Martin Landau, Washington, DC newsman Jim Vance,NYPD officer Milsotis Familia,and, on a personal note, Ted Zang, an old family friend . While we had our differences, he was a nice guy with a great sense of humor and my condolences go out to his sons.

THE PROS OF LETTING O.J. SIMPSON OUT ON PAROLE: At 70, he's no spring chicken, and he needs some personal time to recuperate, relax, and reflect on the error of his ways.

THE CONS OF LETTING O.J. SIMPSON OUT ON PAROLE: At 70, he's a dirty old man, and, as long as he walks the streets free, no woman, girl, man, or autographed football is safe.


A DIFFERENT TYPE OF GOING: Summer here in the Northeast seems to think it's Fall, but if you live elsewhere and want to teach the little beachcombers how to deal with that certain little urge, just
make sure your local provider has Disney Junior On Demand then click on a series of vignettes called "Nina Needs To GO!" (No, it has nothing to do with "Nina's World," a Sprout series recommended by this blog, although the Nina in one particular episode of THAT show had to deal with the family vehicle parked so far away from the restrooms.) As the title implies, the titular character has to deal with a weak bladder in such ordinary situations as library story time, a visit to the museum, and, of course, a day at the beach. If the little ones have issues holding it in, this entertaining and amusing series helps them get the potty started. (As for the rest of us? Depends.)


COMING UP: Should you see SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING? Should you download SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE and POWER RANGERS? Should you come back for the answers? The answer to THAT one is a definite YES!

Bye,Buckaroos!
Steve

Monday, July 10, 2017

201 KEVIN KLEIN RETIRES!

I know what you're about to say: "HEY, STUPID, HOW CAN HE RETIRE WHEN HE'S DOING EVERYTHING FROM "PRESENT LAUGHTER" ON BROADWAY TO "DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" TO "BOB'S BURGERS" ON FOX? DOES A HUMAN ENERGIZER BUNNY LIKE THAT LOOK LIKE A CANDIDATE FOR AN AARP CARD?"

First of all, don't call me Stupid, second of all, I didn't say Kevin Delaney K-L-I-N-E, America's greatest Shakespearean actor, husband of Phoebe Cates and proud papa of Owen and Greta was hanging it up any time soon, and third, and most important of all, Kevin R. K-L-E-I-N, a current New York Ranger (defenseman, to be exact) and former Nashville Predator, is the one who's calling it a career after 13 years on the ice at the advanced age of...32.

Although actors are also athletes in their own way, K-L-I-N-E's L-I-N-E of work is less taxing than Kevin the Younger's, but K-L-E-I-N has sacrificed more for his art than Kevin the Elder, suffering from back spasms (2016-17), and even losing part of his ear in combat. (At least Mike Tyson didn't have him for dinner!)

I can't honestly blame Kevin the Younger for saying goodbye when he did. He's already led a full life playing for the Predators in both the show and on the farm team (Milwaukee)  from 2004 until his trade to New York for Michael del Zotto and racking up an impressive total of 627 points, but athletes are, sadly, only human, and not as invincible as Superman or Wonder Woman.

We wish Kevin K-L-E-I-N all the best in his second act, but we would be remiss if we didn't wish Kevin K-L-I-N-E much continued success. Both guys have been doing a great job and should keep up the incredible work. Do I have to spell it out for you?

C-YA!
Steve

Friday, July 7, 2017

200 STEVE'S BLOG-CENTENNIAL

Four years ago, my fellow New York Ranger fan Nicole Vranzanian loved my little email observations on the NHL, pop culture, and life in general so much, she suggested I write a blog. Who am I to disappoint a fellow long-suffering devotee of the Broadway Blueshirts? And so Steve's Blog was born, and although I may not seize EVERY opportunity to take keyboard in paw and communicate with my faithful followers in more than twenty countries and territories, this little old blog shows no signs of slowing down. Thank you, Nick for suggesting this little project and all you fans worldwide for your continued support. The world can't stop us, it can only hope to contain us, so buckle your seat belts and hold onto something heavy, we may be 200 blogs old, but we're just getting started!

HOW I SPENT MY VACATION

The last time I visited Upstate New York, (I mean way the HECK Upstate!) I stayed in Albany and spent a few hours in Cooperstown, the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and, according to legend, the place where soldier Abner Doubleday invented the modern game in 1839 (Actually, the modern rules were drawn up by the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in NYC a few years earlier.) The HOF was definitely the highlight of my all-too-short visit to the Coop,and despite a rousing concert by none other than Paul McCartney at the Times Union Center and a visit to a museum founded by none other than George  Washington, Albany wasn't exactly the bustling metropolitan area I expected. I decided the next time I visited the Capital Region, I would either (A) pitch my tent at a more luxurious hotel, preferably downtown, than the Motel 6 the hotel site recommended, or (B) bypass Albany altogether and bed down in C-Town. Lucky for me I chose (B) this past Fourth of July weekend! Not only did I see the HOF again, but I also saw the Fenimore Art Museum (and a special exhibition of ice-skating-related art collected by the legendary Dick Button), the Legends of Baseball Wax Museum (and Hard Ball Cafe, the Coop's ONLY outdoor bar and grill), the Village Library of Cooperstown (Home to a LOT of great sports books, including ESPN's Sal Palantonio's "How Football Explains America" and, OF COURSE, George Will's "Men at Work," one of the best baseball books of all time),and one of the best beaches in New York State, as well as a veritable plethora of sports collectibles stores, including Yaztremski Sports, where I found a yearbook from the minor league Charlotte O's. I didn't find any player I know from "the Show," as the farm team players call the Big Leagues, but I DID learn that the team was owned by the family of legendary wrestling promoter (and member of WWE rival the National Wrestling Alliance) Jim Crockett, and one of the announcers was wrestling color commentator Tony Schiavone (Although a lot of his paisans pronounce it "Ski-A-Voanny,", he prefers "Sha-vonny." Guess he thinks a lot of rasslin fans don't capeesh Italian!)  Another thing I found about Cooperstown is that although it IS proud to be a small town, it has more in common with the Big Apple than Albany! If you want to find out more about C-Town, and there's ALWAYS more, log on to http://www,iloveny.com . PLAY BALL!

FINALLY...

My sincerest condolences to the family of the police officer murdered in cold blood on July 5th. She died as she lived, protecting the city she loved, and that will always love her back.

BYE, BUCKAROOS...

...and here's to the next 200!
Steve

Friday, June 30, 2017

Steve's Declaration of Independence...from Phil Jackson and (Soon.Please!) Donald J. Trump

I've always believed that Manhattan's major houses of worship are Congregation Emanu-El, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and Madison Square Garden. Granted, Emanu-El and St. Pat's aren't 100% pure, but when James Dolan, the CEO of the World's Otherwise Most Perfect Arena, makes a mistake, it makes any gaffe the other two institutions make, and they have made a lot, seem miniscule by comparison. When Philip Douglas Jackson returned to the New York Knickerbockers, a team that drafted him in 1957 and to whom he gave some of the best years of his basketball life, he brought a new optimism, restored the Triangle Offense which had become a Knicks trademark during his tenure as a player, especially during the 1969-70 championship season (He had to sit the championship out.), hired his friend from the Los Angeles Lakers, head coach Derek Fisher, and traded Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler to the Dallas Mavericks for Jose Calderon and Shane Larkin among others. Two of the brightest stars under his aegis were veteran Carmelo Anthony and Latvian Kristaps Porzingas. Despite all his wheeling and dealing, the Knicks have yet to return to the NBA Finals, and, as you can probably understand, New York fans, the toughest in the world, were, to put it mildly, slightly less than satisfied. (For a nationally televised game against the Golden State Warriors just this past season, the Knicks decided to put all in-game entertainment, such as the Knicks City Dancers, the opening light show, organist Ray Castoldi, and contests and promotions on hold until the second half, thus putting the focus on pure basketball. This minimalist approach may have worked for one of Disney's special live productions for autistic kids, and kudos to them for that, but it only evoked one response from REAL Knicks fans, not the fairweather fans, but the ones who REPRESENT, and that response was...

"YAWN!")

On June 28,2017, Jackson and the Knicks mutually agreed to part ways.

STEVE'S STATEMENT:


BYE, PHIL-ICIA! Don't let the MSG executive suite door hit you on the way out!

I wish that idiot we happened to let be  President of the United States were also on his way out. When Louisiana congressman Steve Scalise was injured by a madman during a baseball practice, The Donald called for cooler heads to prevail, but the VERY NEXT DAY, he was up to his old tricks. The less said about his attack on MSNBC's MORNING JOE the better, (It will be addressed in depth in the VERY near future.) but this could be the beginning of the end. Trump has said a LOT of things in his life, but the two things I want him to say the most are "BUH-BYE!" and "You want fries with that shake, sir?"

May the FOURTH be with you, and let's remember all those Great Americans who promised to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States...and delivered!

Keep it red, white and blue, Buckaroos!
Steve




Monday, June 19, 2017

197 Don't Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

As we go to press, the Staten Island Yankees, the Minor League affiliates of the 28-Time World Champion New York Yankees, have declared their opening night game against the Mets' satellite team, the Brooklyn Cyclones, a rain-out, although it still looks pretty good to me! What would Babe, Lou, Reggie, Catfish, Thurman, Joe D,Derek, and all those who have been proud to wear the pinstriped uniform and the interlocking N-Y baseball cap, think about this unprecedented, and I must say, WIMPY turn of events?!? Suppose the night turns out to be nice and this is all much ado about VERRRRRRRRY little?!?!? If George Steinbrenner were alive today, he'd throw his cigar to the ground and order them to play until they were completely waterlogged. To quote Judge Judy Sheindlin, " don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining!" (Slightly diluted for a family audience.) Rain, shmain, Yankees and Cyclones, LET'S PLAY BALL!

Steve's Blog-Centennial is coming soon! Don't miss it....BE THERE!
Steve

Thursday, June 15, 2017

"My Fathers chair" by Rick Springfield

196 Super-Size Me!

There's so much to talk about in this episode that I have to SUPER-SIZE it, so fasten your seat belts and hold onto your hats, folks, 'cause HERE. WE. GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


FAREWELL TO THE BAT

This past weekend, leukemia succeeded where the Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Scarecrow have failed... IT KILLED THE BATMAN. Actually, it killed the best known interpreter of the Caped Crusader, William West Anderson, or, as he was better known, Adam West. Born on September 19,1928 in Walla Walla, WA, Adam began acting professionally in the 50's and gained renown for his appearances on TV shows from SUGARFOOT and BEWITCHED to PERRY MASON and BOURBON STREET BEAT
and in movies from The Three Stooges' last feature film THE OUTLAWS IS COMING to GERONIMO and THE YOUNG PHILADELPHIANS. After producer William Dozier saw Adam in a Nestle Quik commercial (as Bondesque spy Captain Q) he immediately cast him as Batman and the Masked Manhunter's  millionaire playboy alter ego, Bruce Wayne, beating out Lyle Waggoner. Despite a shaky professional relationship with his on-air sidekick Burt Ward (Robin/Dick Grayson),the show became a major "Battraction" and after its initial run from 1966 to 1968 on ABC, it cemented its place in pop culture. I had the pleasure to talk to Adam personally at the Comic Art Convention at the Madison Square Garden Exposition Center in 2000 and 2002 and the Big Apple Comic Con a few years later, (I reminded him I saw him at the Garden and, his eyes lighting up like a Christmas tree, asked, "DID I OPEN FOR SPRINGSTEEN?" before attempting to sing "Born To Run." I cried not because it was a beautiful song, but because it was a beautiful song UNTIL HE MURDERED IT!) He remained active in movies (He was mad, and understandably so, at Tim Burton for rejecting him for the 1989 Bat-movie which ultimately starred Michael Keaton.) and television (Not only as the voice of the Dark Knight, who, he said, was more of a Light Knight, but also as the voice of Mayor Adam West on FAMILY GUY, the Ferret on Disney's KIM POSSIBLE, Young Mermaidman on Nick's SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, the Gray Ghost in BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, diverse characters in Disney's CHICKEN LITTLE and MEET THE ROBINSONS,and even Catman on Nick's FAIRLY ODDPARENTS.) through the new millennium, and even engaged in a mock battle with wrestling superstar Jerry "The King" Lawler (who sketched a beautiful portrait of Adam in the cowl which I had the pleasure to obtain at Comic-Con New York last year). He leaves behind four children from two different marriages, and a Batcave full of memories. No matter how turbulent times get, no matter how often our way of life is challenged, whether internally or externally, new generations will always tune in to see Adam West wearing the costume of the world's greatest super hero detective, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

WHAT'S HAPPENED TO U.S.?

One example of how turbulent times have been getting is the shooting at what was originally supposed to be a light-hearted baseball practice in Alexandria, VA on June 14. James T. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old home inspection business owner from Belleville, IL, who was disappointed with the 2016 Presidential election results, opened fire on GOP lawmakers practicing for a charity event and wounded many, including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise. Hodgkinson was shot and killed by police officers who President Trump congratulated for their bravery despite their own injuries. The game will go on, but, as the saying goes, there is no I in "TEAM." Despite our disagreements, and there are many, we are the UNITED States of America, and an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. Our best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to those in hospital, and our condolences go out to the families of those who died.

THE WONDER OF IT ALL

In times like these, we really need a hero, and while Batman, or at least the best-known portrayer of Batman, is no longer with us, we have a hero in his Justice League team-mate, Diana, princess of Themyscira, or, as she is better known, WONDER WOMAN. The just-released DC/Warner Bros. adaptation of the adventures of the Amazing Amazon (and the first super hero movie directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins), is a welcome departure from what has become the norm. Whereas Batman (in the comics) isn't Batman because he loves being Batman but is Batman because he IS Batman, Diana LOVES being Wonder Woman, champion of the Amazons of Paradise Island, determined to eliminate war from Man's World. (Although THIS man supports kicking ISIS' butt, and I mean the terror group, not the WW knockoff from the 70's, I don't think that's a bad idea!) Gal Gadot, a former Miss Israel and Israeli soldier, continues the tradition Lynda Carter (an advisor to the movie, along with the family of Wondy's creator, Dr. William Moulton Marston and people who have guided her destiny in the comics, including Lively Len Wein and George "Pacesetter" Perez) started on 70's TV by infusing a comic book favorite with humanity, passion, and warmth. Other stellar performers include Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta,Queen of the Amazons and Diana's mother, Robin Wright as Antiope, Diana's trainer and Lyta's top general, and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, the man whose plane crash-landed on Paradise Island and who introduced Diana to the ways of mortals. This is the rare super hero movie for those who love and hate super hero movies, and Allan Heinberg, a comics fan who has written for both page (Marvel's YOUNG AVENGERS) and screen (GREY'S ANATOMY), gives the original Lady Di the respect she deserves. WONDER if I would pick a sandwich over this WOMAN if I only had a few bucks to my name? AS IF!


NOT EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED, BUT THANKS ANYWAY...

...New York Racing Association for a 149th Belmont Stakes that didn't (Triple) Crown a champion or feature any winners from the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes. I picked Irish War Cry (not just because he was the favorite, but because of what Seth Meyers calls HIS favorite Irish war cry: "WHADDYA MEAN YOU'RE OUT OF GUINNESS?!?"), but I'm happy he came in second with Tapwrit coming in first and Patch coming in third. Still looking forward to the Belmont Stars and Stripes Festival on July 9th! (I got a free voucher. Can't beat the price!)

WHEW!

Well, ladies and chaps, that puts the wraps on a VERY jam-packed edition of Ye Olde Blogge, but a few more things before I get out of here...

Happy Father's Day to all the dads we look up to, especially Scott Shannon, Ross Brittain, Todd Pettengill, Joe Nolan, Steve Kingston, Brad Blanks, and those who have departed this mortal coil, such as my maternal Gramps Clinton M. Long, my paternal Gramps Sigmund Eisenpreis, and the man without whom there wouldn't be a Steve's Blog, let alone a Steve, Alfred Eisenpreis, as well as all the dads out there. Stay tuned for a special musical tribute to Dad!

Good luck to my CWPF, Congregation Emanu-El Rabbi Allison Tick-Brill, as she gets ready to join the fam in Chicago. We're keeping the door WIIIIIDE open for you, Ali! Mazels!

Bye, Buckaroos!
Steve

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

195 We're So Sorry, Cynthia McFadden...

...that we confused you with Kelly O'Donnell in our review of SUNDAY NIGHT WITH MEGYN KELLY (Last blog!) That was STILL a compelling interview, and my apologies also go out to Kelly O, as well as Meg and her talented SN staff.(At least WE own up to our mistakes, unlike King Covfefe! Mebbe we should call him Don Covfefleone after James Comey told the world he said, "I need loyalty. I expect loyalty."


STEVE'S BITS


Another reason to look forward to Friday: Temps in the Northeast warm up to where they should be! Put those parkas back in the closet and get those grills out, folks, Summer ain't giving up without a fight!


On Memorial Day, Mets radio commentator Josh Lewin quipped, "If this is Summer, I'm Brad Pitt!" when his colleague Howie Rose reminded him of the cloudy skies and below-normal temps. Well, Brad, tell Angie and the kids you're going to Disney World. because, as I said, Summer is going to be here to stay!

Hey, Warner Bros., are you ever gonna bring back ANIMANIACS? In case you lived in a cave during the 90's, this was a hilarious Saturday morning/weekday afternoon show which aired on FOX and The WB )Now The CW) revolving around Yakko and Wakko Warner and Dot, the Warner Sister, three fun-loving toons from the early pre-Bugs-and-Daffy days of LOONEY TUNES locked in the Warner water tower who escape and wreak havoc on the modern world through sketches and songs,many of them educational (such as "The Presidents Song" and a little ditty to the tune of "Turkey In The Straw" cataloging all the state capitols in the USA), with the help of their own cast of characters (including the stars of the popular PINKY AND THE BRAIN) and a staff of animation veterans helmed by executive producer Steven Spielberg (Yep, THAT Steven Spielberg!), which can currently be seen on Netflix. No victim was spared, no celebrity went uncaricatured, but it was all good, clean, wholesome fun for the whole family. (We could sure use THAT kind of fun THESE days with a looney tunes President like the one we have now!)

If you're stopping by the Big Apple this Summer, check out GULLIVER'S GATE in the Times Square neighborhood (216 West 44th Street, to be exact) and prepare to have your MIND BLOWN. Open every day at 8 AM, the Gate opens on a world in miniature, with beautifully accurate reproductions of London, Tokyo, New England, and other international destinations. (It even pays tribute to its inspiration, the immortal "Gulliver's Travels", with an airport served by Swift Airlines, an obvious tribute to author Jonathan Swift, and let THAT be the only spoiler!) For information, tickets, and links to social media platforms, visit http://www.gulliversgate.com and hashtags #gulliversgate and #miniaturemarvels . It IS a Small World after all, and it never looked better!

That's all the covfefe I have for now, covfefes and covfefettes, but y'all covfefe back now, y'hear?
Steve

Monday, June 5, 2017

194 Almost Live From New York, It's Sunday Night!

Say goodbye to Megyn Kelly, FOX News mouthpiece and conservative troublemaker.

Say hello to Megyn Kelly, TRULY fair and balanced NBC News anchor, about to take the reins of the third hour of TODAY, but, during the summer and after the 2017-2018 NFL season, anchor of SUNDAY NIGHT WITH MEGYN KELLY, airing on the Peacock Network Sunday nights (DUH!) at 8 ET and PT/ 7 CT.

Sometimes the title of a show can tell you what it ISN'T. Just as the TODAY show, the original early morning news and information program isn't THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON, the latest iteration of an iconic talk/variety show, SUNDAY NIGHT is by no means the irreverent current events parody SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE is (And, no doubt, it has enlisted either Kate McKinnon or a bewigged Cecily Strong to lambaste Ms. Megyn during her FOX days!) or a jockfest like NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL. What it IS is a return to traditional Sunday news magazine storytelling as opposed to the true-crime mysteries on its stablemate DATELINE and the celebrity puff pieces on ABC's 20/20. For her keynote address, the Megynatrix talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and he told her through an interpreter that it doesn't matter to him who currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and introduced a compelling Kelly O'Donnell story on a former employee of a fast-rising drug company and a Harry Smith story on a one-woman army fighting for truth, justice, and Kenyan elephants, and from the looks of things, she's ready to leave the past behind and become a Barbara Walters for the new millennium. (My only complaint is a trailer for an upcoming interview with FOX Sports reporter/ former ESPNer Erin Andrews wherein she reminds Ms. A that she's found happiness with an "NFL hockey player." Fortunately, Erin corrects her with "NHL."

No, King Covfefe, Megyn doesn't have "blood coming out of her whatever," but, America, give her a chance because it DOES sound like she has a lot of fascinating stories coming out of her little corner of 30 Rock. (I just hope this new show isn't like the early iteration of the aforementioned 20/20 which was so low-rated that ABC fired its anchors Harold Hayes and Robert Hughes right after the first episode!)

No, she's not Chevy Chase, but then, she doesn't have to be.

Bye, Buckaroos!
Steve

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Covfefe Wars Episode 2: The Covfefe Strikes Back

Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Covfefe and all the covfefes at sea, let's go to covfefe!

My last blog on President Donald J. Covfefe and his contribution to the literary world (ANYBODY can make a spelling missteak! For covfefing out loud, why didn't this son of a covfefe just delete the word and talk about the negative press COVERAGE!) elicited so many positive responses, I've decided to imagine what would happen if other important people had used that word in lieu of more coherent language. (In a somewhat related development, I'm still trying to figure out who put the bomp in the bomp-bomp-bomp-bomp-bomp!)

Suppose the Beatles' first movie, regarded by many as the first longform music video, was called "A Hard Day's Covfefe" and the group's leader, John Covfefe, went on to challenge us to "Imagine no covfefe!"

Suppose Winston Churchill told the allies, "We have nothing to offer but blood, sweat and covfefe!"

Once upon a time, I made the mistake of comparing Sir Goofs-A-Lot to Walt Disney. I know it MAY be a bit painful, but imagine if Unca Walt wasn't the avuncular father figure we all knew and loved, but a little more Trumpish: "To those who come to this happy covfefe, we just built a big, beautiful wall around it and you're gonna pay to maintain it!"

Remember Elvis' first hit song, "You Ain't Nothing But A Covfefe?"

In another related development, Darth Covfefe has made a more insegrievious (Thank you, Gary Owens!) mistake by pulling America out of the Paris Treaty. You keep this up, Buddy, and there WON'T be an America anymore, or a world for that matter! (And all you conservative bloggers out there making remarks about CEO's who strongly disagree with Donald Dork's environmental policies, would you PLEASE...



SHUT THE COVFEFE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

A tip of the covfefe to Disney's Bob Iger, Virgin's Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk,Exxon Mobil, Vice-President Al Gore, and everybody else placing the needs of the Earth over the wants of one orange-skinned butt head.

I leave you with a classic benediction from a way smarter and funnier guy than Mr. Drumpf, the MARVELous Stan Lee: "Let's take care of ourselves. After all, we're the only human race we've got!"


Bye Buckaroos!
Steve

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Steve's Covfefe (Covfefe's Blog?)

Is there no low to which President Of The United States For Now Donald John Trump will stoop? He's alienated our most important allies in Europe, decreed the "fake" news media (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and every other news organization not owned by Rupert Murdoch) the enemy of the American people, insulted women, Mexico, China, Alec Baldwin and his fun-loving friends at SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and his erstwhile buds the Clintons and Barack Obama (THAT was fast!), and now he has created a new word which MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE WHATSOEVER, and I quote...

"Despite the constant negative press covfefe"-Posted on Twitter, May 31,2017 after midnight EST

WAIT,WHAT?

Is THAT what the 45th President of the greatest of countries in a world of great countries will be remembered for?

I admit, I love a good nonsense word as much as the next guy. Remember LAUGH-IN announcer and DJ Gary Owens and Morgul the Friendly Drelb? Remember a character on the original ELECTRIC COMPANY called Chompularkoiminguslump or when the great Fred Rogers said, "Slopperydozafunundapuk?" Or how about "Doo wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo?" (Thank you Ellie Greenwich by way of Manfred Mann!)

But THIS...this, like the majority of every word uttered by this doofus (Yep, I called the President a doofus! I don't condone posing with a blood soaked effigy of the Donald, but I do NOT apologize for calling him a doofus!) IS JUST PLAIN NONSENSE!

Needless to say, the internet is having a field day with this insipidly incoherent idiocy, which will, no doubt, haunt our fearless covfefe until he covfefes off to that great big covfefe in the covfefe.

Suppose his predecessors said something similar: "Fourscore and seven covfefes ago?" "Ask not what your covfefe can do  for you, ask what you can covfefe for your country?" "A thousand points of covfefe?"":Mr. Covfefe, tear down this covfefe?"

My fellow Covfefes, let's hope that our Covfefe in Chief can think of something more coherent to tell the world, because, with everything going on from Manchester to Kabul and everywhere else in between, we REALLY need an intelligent, professional leader who can unite us and give us direction, not some silly word that will probably land on the ash heap of history. I don't care if it's Hillary Clinton, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson or a write-in candidate as long as if it's a person we can all understand. Now THAT would be SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS! (Not to mention smurfy!)

Covfefe, Buckaroos!
Steve

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Laughter, Present and Absent

Unfortunately, I must lead with the laughter absent from Manchester, England,stolen by 22-year-old bomber Salman Abedi on May 22, 2017. This heartless...I don't honestly know if I can dignify him by calling him a man or even a person...detonated bombs as thousands poured out of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Evening News Arena killing 22 and leaving thousands of tweens and teens wearing Ariana's trademark kitten ears, sobbing and hugging their parents. Regardless of what I think of Donald Trump at the moment, I wish him, and the other leaders of the world, all the best of luck in combating the hydra-headed monster known as terrorism, and my thoughts and prayers go out to the surviving victims, the families of those lost to us forever, and Ariana herself, a beautiful, talented and funny performer, who deserves much better than a tragedy of this magnitude. My thoughts also go out to James Dolan, the CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, Mayor Bill deBlasio, and New York;s Finest and Bravest ,and I pray God will give them the strength and wisdom to keep MSG, Radio City Music Hall, and his many properties from coast-to-coast, safe from another attack on America and everything we hold dear. God Bless America, God Save The Queen, and God help us all.

Ooooooooooooooooooooooooookay, let's proceed to the PRESENT LAUGHTER, shall we? Noel Coward's 1939 comedy of manners has been brilliantly revived for a new generation with its VEDDY British 'tude intact and is now playing on Broadway at the St. James Theater at 246 West 44th Street. My CWPF Kevin Kline (THE BIG CHILL, THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM, YOUNG GUY CHRISTIAN, THE PINK PANTHER and more credits than you can shake a Playbill at) plays Garry Essendine, a self-important comic actor preparing to tour Africa, but not without being besieged by his long-suffering secretary, his estranged wife, a star-struck fangirl, and an obsessed young playwright. Kevin is the undisputed star, (I meant "CONSTELLATION!") of this show which retains its resonance today, although Kate Burton (his wife Liz)  and Cobie Smulders (his secretary) capture the silver and bronze with true aplomb and professionalism. (If, according to some accounts, Cobie was the Canadian Debbie Gibson back in the day,this play is QUITE the quantum leap for her, and it couldn't happen to a more talented girl!) If Kevin and the aforementioned supporting cast members don't take home a few Tonys, there is no justice left in the world. I had the pleasure to watch this play in celebration of my birthday, and this was THE icing on the cake! (The salad at the Garden Bar at Ruby Tuesday on Times Square just a walk away wasn't too shabby either!)

I won't give too much else away, except by telling you it's in two acts with two one-minute pauses (And wait till you see how they fill the time!) and you'll hear some great jazz and see some great sets and costumes,and urging you to RUN, DON'T WALK to http://www.ticketmaster.com ! The title was inspired by Shakespeare (another dude who has provided Kevin with a lot of great material), but the play is all Noel Coward in his sophisticated British glory. The Laughter is VERY Present, and boy, do we need it now!

Bye,Buckaroos!
Steve

Thursday, May 11, 2017

IOU - Jimmy Dean - ORIGINAL & best version, lyrics, tribute to Mother, M...

An Unhappy Mother's Day...

...without Kathy Berman, the 67-year-old wife of legendary ESPN anchor Chris Berman and mother of  Meredith and Douglas. She lost her life this past Tuesday in a two-car crash in Woodbury, CT. Kathy and "The Boomer" were happily married for 33 years, just four years after he joined ESPN. Although he resigned his post as anchor of SUNDAY NFL COUNTDOWN earlier this year, he remains with the Total Sports Network he helped start in a downsized capacity after signing a new contract.

Despite my feelings about ESPN's recent layoffs, I would like to extend my condolences to ESPN President John Skipper, Chris, Meredith, Douglas, and everyone who knew and loved Kathy and wish her a very happy first Mother's Day in Heaven.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I Give You Guys A Complement And What Happens?!?

HAPPENING NOW....(April 27) Two days after this reporter praises ESPN's MIKE AND THE MAD DOG documentary, they up and lay off more than 100 on-air personalities! I thought ESPN was more profitable than all the other Disney properties INCLUDING Marvel, Lucasfilm, Animation and the parks. Wha happen?
No matter what you subscribe to, say a prayer before you go to bed tonight for all the ESPNers who have been relieved of their duties. Bill O'Reilly may deserve what was coming to him, but all the people who were known to sports fans from coast to coast certainly don't! I hope they come...all...the...way BACKBACKBACK! ESPN deserves a penalty for unnecessary roughness!


Steve

Monday, April 24, 2017

Steve's Movie Blog: Every (Mad) Dog Has His Day

If you've listened to Mike Francesa's afternoon drive program on Sports Radio 101.9 FM and Sports Radio 66 WFAN in New York for the past 20 or so years, you know he's not the biggest ESPN fan in the universe, so you know something's gotta give when he agrees to participate in an episode of their acclaimed 30 FOR 30 documentary series (originally designed as a series of thirty documentaries to celebrate the Worldwide Leader's 30th Anniversary when it premiered in 2009) detailing his on- and off-air relationship with fellow sports talk personality Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo. This reporter had the pleasure to see MIKE AND THE MAD DOG (also the title of their long-running talk show which was simulcast on YES until just recently when Yankee radio sportscaster Michael Kay took over the simulcast time slot) at the Tribeca Film Festival in Lower Manhattan, (Since Robert deNiro founded the TFF as a means to stimulate the economy of the area after the events of 9/11, let me tell you that there's a scene in this movie about Mike and the Dog's reaction to the attack, and, without giving anything away, their Jewish fans and friends were not too happy.), and if your DVR allows it, set it for ESPN on July 17, because that's when this home run of a movie airs.


Not just a tribute to the titular hosts and the trend that started that has made sports talk an important format not just in the USA, but also in North America, the UK and elsewhere, but also a tribute to New York sports and the fans who love them, MMD relies on interviews with colleagues, competitors, and athletes and obviously copious amounts of research to tell the story of (A) the greatest creative collaboration since Lennon and McCartney and (B) the most explosive sports partnership since George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin. These two men turned a sports station with only one authentic New York voice (its first talk host Suzyn Waldman) into a bonafide voice for sports fans from the Bronx to Newark and everywhere in between. Find out what happened when the man who put them on the air was fired and they had to pinch-hit for him, when the inmates ran the asylum, and the surprise reunion last year at Francesa-con, Mike's annual fan gathering at punk palace Irving Plaza. (I wonder what will happen when Mike's contract with the FAN expires. We shall see what we shall see.)


You don't have to be a sports fan to SEE IT, but hey, it doesn't hurt! Sir Noel Coward once said, "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun." Change that to "Mad Dog and Francesa", because that's where they shone for two decades, especially in the toughest media market (and sports city) in the world.


As Chris used to say at the end of every show,


Adios!
Steve

Friday, April 21, 2017

Open Letter To The Lower East Side Tenement Museum

Lower East Side Tenement Museum
103 Orchard Street
New York, New York 10002

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I believe a lot of my readers from coast to coast and border to border may have heard of your excellent museum (To call it a "museum" seems like an injustice! I believe "interactive immersive learning experience" would be more accurate.) as a result of a SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE bit starring guest host Louis C.K. ("Louie" on FX and his own Netflix comedy specials) and Kate McKinnon (unless I miss my guess), but when I visited the gift shop recently, I was surprised to hear that even with the exposure to a new audience, your attendance has stayed pretty much the same! (Anybody who hasn't seen that bit can visit http://www.nbc.com/snl, download the SNL app on Siri, or view "SNL 04-08-17" on demand from their cable or satellite provider or Hulu.)

In recent years, Colonial Williamsburg has benefited from performances from actors such as Mamie Gummer, ("Manhattan" on WGN America, "Ricki and The Flash" opposite her mother, Meryl Streep, and "Emily Owens,M.D." on The CW) and Isiah Washington ("Grey's Anatomy"), to give but two examples, and not only have these actors felt pleased to make history come alive for guests but these guests have also learned the history of their country from "people who were there" and been pleasantly surprised when they have found out who has been representing these fascinating and very real characters.

I would like to suggest that the Tenement Museum enlist the services of some of the latest crop of "Not Ready For Prime Time Players" to bring the people who made New York the gorgeous mosaic it is today to life for a new generation during the summer months. (I sure hope NYC & Company's campaign to win back European tourists works!) Not only would it provide an excellent opportunity for these talented actors and actresses to hone their craft and maintain their edge but it would also show SNL fans a different side of them as well as make history more accessible, interesting, and, well....COOL! These past few months have shown us that SNL is not just a funny late night show, but also a vital and vibrant commentary on today's world, and employing the services of SNL's cast members would make an already exciting museum even moreso.

Yours very truly,
Steven L. Eisenpreis

copies to:@nbcsnl

Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring Has Sprung! The Grass Has Riz! Wonder Where Steve's Blog Is?

You've found it, with a brand new look to boot. You likey?


If you're one of our international readers, don't let the wacko we made the mistake of electing king keep you away from the Big Apple. There are a LOT of reasons to come over, such as the new Broadway productions AMELIE, PRESENT LAUGHTER, and THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG (Inexpilicably produced by J.J. Abrams!), the Yankees and Mets, the Rangers in the playoffs, (Knicks fans, I'm afraid you're gonna have to wait till next year!) the NYC Football Club and the New York Red Bulls, and the New York International Automobile Show, here until April 23 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on 11th Avenue in Manhattan. This show is chock-a-block with the newest models such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia, the Nissan Rogue, and the Chevrolet Traverse and Ford EcoSport, AND if you visit on April 18th, you get to see the world famous WABC-TV Eyewitness News van and meet the reporters who have made ABC 7 NY a frequent ratings leader, at no extra charge! For tickets and more information, drive over to http://www.autoshowny.com . There's always VROOM for one more!


For little Stevie Eisenpreis growing up in Manhattan, spring always  meant the arrival of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, the Greatest Show on Earth and talent such as the animal trainer Gunther Gebel Williams, clowns Emmett Kelly, Jr. and Lou Jacobs, and, OF COURSE, the world famous elephants at Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately, RB/BB is folding its tent for the last time this year due to declining ticket sales and increased pressure from PETA and the like, but if you like a good circus at the Garden, take the fam to CIRCUS 1903:THE GOLDEN AGE OF CIRCUS  at The Theatre at MSG until the end of the month. Named for, and set in the year when the Ringlings and P.T. Barnum and James A. Bailey merged their respective shows, 1903 unites today's greatest circus performers (Spoiler Alert: Where are the clowns?) and provides an immersive entertainment experience, and don't worry, no animals were harmed in the making of this circus! The show's pachyderm stars, Queenie and Peanut, are played by the puppeteers behind the West End and Broadway sensation WAR HORSE. The magic will live forever, but the show won't, so step right up to http://www.circus1903.com ! It's not the GREATEST Show on Earth, but hey, it will do!


Unfortunately, I can't bid you adieu without acknowledging the passing of rock and roll icons J.Geils and Chuck Berry or Eddie Murphy's brother and fellow comic Charlie as well as Mr. Warmth, Don Rickles.. Heaven is a more entertaining place.


Until next time, have a great holiday season, support the advertisers who DON'T support THE O'REILLY FACTOR, and...


Bye Buckaroos!
Steve



Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That



First of all, the "Good-Luck-You're-Gonna-Need-It!" Award goes to the NYC Mayor's Office for Media and Entertainment for the One Book New York campaign. If you're so inclined (and I'm not,.just so you know) you can go to nyc.gov/onebook and vote for the book you think your fellow New Yorkers should read in March. New Yorkers are very different people and they like to read very different books, and furthermore, there's a document that protects the right to read very different books, and it's called the "Bill of Rights." "One Book North Korea" or "One Book Iran" would be a better name for this fiasco in the making! (I don't think there would be any dis-Putin "One Book Russia" either!)


I HAVEN'T seen "La-La-Land," (And I hope I don't get exiled to Devil's Island!) but I HAVE seen THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, starring the voices of Will Arnett (Batman), Michael Cera (Robin),Ralph Fiennes (Alfred), Zach Galifinakas (Joker) and Rosario Dawson (Batgirl), and Holy Blockbuster, if isn't the perfect parody of/tribute to more than eight decades of the Caped Crusader, I'll eat my Batman mask/cap! (It's too small to fit my head anyways!) About the only bad thing about this otherwise brilliant movie is the credit "Executive Producer: Steven Mnuchin." Now, don't get me wrong, I'm always happy for a fellow Steve if he makes it big in pop culture, but Mr. Mnuchin is a MAJOR exception to the rule since he is the current Administration's Secretary of the Treasury and, like many in this Administration, he has NO political experience whatsoever, but DON'T let THAT get in the way of your enjoyment of this fun two hours at the flicks!

To quote Mr. Reagan, "There you go again," Mr. Trump! He says the "fake news media" should disclose their sources. I have picked up packages from many companies for many companies, and many of those pick-up companies keep insisting I disclose MY sources (i.e. give a contact name and number), so I know where the media is coming from when they attack Trumpy for HIS attack! (I DO disclose my sources after I call the office, but I just hope CNN,the New York Times, the Daily News, and the BBC don't start doing the same!)

Dear SNL: PLEASE hurry back! America and all countries who love freedom need you!

Good luck to all the Oscar nominees, and if you don't  have anything nice to say about El Jefe, GO AHEAD AND SAY IT!

Good luck also to all the Daytona drivers, especially Danica Patrick and Dale,Jr!

Congrats to Judy Collins on knocking another show out of the park, or more accurately, the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

Bye, Buckaroos!
Steve

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Art Imitates Life, Love Conquers All, and Goodbye, Mare

Before I go any further, I would like to mourn Mary Tyler Moore. She  turned the world on with her smile, and Mary Richards, her most famous character, inspired many young journalists of both genders. Considering all the hurdles she had to jump, she really made it after all. My condolences to  her family and friends..

I was originally going to start with a recommendation to any and all Superman fans in the audience, and I know there are a lot. As you may (or may not) recall, when DC Comics rebuilt its universe from the ground up to celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 1986, it returned Clark Kent to the Daily Planet newsroom and changed his deadliest enemy, Lex Luthor, from a mad scientist to a power-mad billionaire who owned half of Metropolis and would later become POTUS. (Sound like anybody you know?) If you NEVER read "Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography," a prestige format graphic novel with a cover that so cleverly parodies that of "Trump: The Art Of The Deal", fly faster than a speeding bullet to Amazon or Comixology and search to see that they still have it. Jocular Johnny Byrne and Marvelous Marv Wolfman, who brought The Man Of Steel into modern times, wrote a pulse-pounding, sense-shattering, and more often than not, wickedly funny look at one of the notorious bad guys in comicdom while respecting the Super-mythos created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and it deserves a look, if, as they said on THE A-TEAM, you can find it.

If you want ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Trump or Luthor, check out A CINDERELLA STORY:IF THE SHOE FITS, a chick flick that even guys can enjoy with their favorite princess on Valentine's Day. Sofia Carson (DISNEY'S DESCENDANTS and its spin-off, WICKED WORLD) plays Tessa, a teen who aspires to a career as a pop sensation, but who labors as an "indentured servant" to her wicked stepmother Athena (Jennifer Tilly) and ugly stepsisters (Amy Louise Wilson and Jazzara Jaslyn) as the sisters audition for a Cinderella musical in Vegas. They do their dangdest to impress handsome Brit superstar Reed West (Thomas Law), but with the help of her "fairy godmother" Georgie, (Nicole Fortuin), Tessa captures his heart disguised as budding pop princess Bella Swan, (I originally thought this was going to be Hannah Montana with a British accent, but this movie, and Bella, surpass my expectations.) and much hilarity and pathos ensue.
This modern fairy tale, the fourth in a series, is brought to you by Warner Home Video (Log on to http://www.disneychannel.com or http://www.freeformtv.com for broadcast times.) and available from Amazon and all other major providers. No matter if you're 8 or 80, it's a "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo-"tiful way to spend a Valentine's Day!
On a personal note, best wishes to my buddy Patty Steele of WCBS-FM in NYC as she recovers from surgery. Hope you're back in the Air Chair soon, Pat!
See you soon with another mind-boggling, zero-defect, alternative-fact-free edition of this fine blog!


Bye, Buckaroos!
Steve


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

True Blue To The End

I may get in trouble for saying it, but it IS true: Blue Lives Matter. I would like to talk about one of those lives, that of NYPD Officer Steven McDonald, who famously forgave the cowardly gunman who left him paralyzed from the neck down. He had been on life support since mucus clogged his respirator,sending him into cardiac arrest on Friday, January 6, and last Tuesday, he died at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, Long Island. We had many things in common, other than the obvious first name: We were born roughly around the same time, (He was born in 1957 and I was born in 1958.) we loved New York, and we loved the New York Rangers, who, like the NYPD, are famous for their distinctive blue uniforms. He inspired the Rangers' "Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award," and asked nothing less than extra effort from children when it came to saying no to drugs and other bad influences.

Steven was a real life super hero, overcoming his handicap to serve New York's Finest as a detective, travel to Bosnia and the Middle East, and meet with South African President Nelson Mandela and the late Pope John Paul II, among others. He represented everything good about the NYPD, and, to a larger extent, New York City and America. As a loyal Blueshirt fan, I can imagine Officer McDonald is having a nice talk up in Heaven with another long-suffering Ranger supporter, my friend Ceil Saidel, a past president and long-time member of the Rangers Fan Club, who, tragically, was shot by a robber in her apartment building. No doubt they have a LOT of catching up to do!

Officer Steven McDonald leaves behind a wife, Patti Ann, a son, Conor,thousands of police officers and school children who looked to him as a role model, and two cities, the Big Apple, and a city-within-a-city called Rangerstown, all of which are paralyzed by sadness. Heart attacks do not discriminate, they can take any life, regardless of race, religion or national origin. What made  this one even more terrible was that it decided to take Officer McDonald, who, unlike another famous Ranger, did not wear a mask or ride a great silver stallion, but was as committed to justice as that one. (Like another famous Ranger,goalie Henrik Lundquist, he DID make a lot of saves for New York, and for that we are all grateful.)

A wake will be held Wednesday and Thursday at St. Agnes Church, Rockville Center, Long Island, and a funeral mass will be held Friday at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in New York at 9:30 AM EST.

Happy Trails, Buckaroo.
Steve

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2016, You're Fired!

Happy New Year to all my readers around the world, and my apologies for forgetting the Naughty and Nice Lists and the Stevie Awards (our recognition of the best in country music), but I do hereby resolve to make it up to you as I see fit. (I know, I know, New Year's resolutions are made to be broken, but THIS one will definitely stick!)

At least I didn't make a fool out of myself on worldwide TV like Mariah Carey. You guys see this? If not, you didn't miss a thing. Anywho, she was the headliner on ABC's DICK CLARK'S NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE STARRING RYAN SEACREST, and she was supposed to lip sync to her classic "Emotions," but instead, she made small talk with the "himbos" who were supposed to escort her while she was lip syncing, messing with her hair and jewelry, and calling out the production team who she would later claim diabolically sabotaged her performance. Here she was, the mistress of the seven octave range, standing in Times Square, the Crossroads of the World, looking like the world's biggest dork in a see-through outfit. She once said she had a certain DJ in mind when she wrote her first ever Top 40 hit, "Vision of Love," and then asked jokingly, "Or was that 'Vision of Food Poisoning?" At first I thought Mimi (as she calls herself) was the former, but this travesty of a performance made her seem more like the latter.

On a more positive note...

NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF NEWS!

One of the President-Elect's many frenemies, the lovely and talented Megyn Kelly, is jumping the sinking S.S. FOX NEWS for the good ship NBC NEWS, where she will host a Sunday evening news program that will give 60 MINUTES  the competition it so desperately needs, anchor a daytime talk show similar to THE KELLY FILES, and cover breaking news, and by "news," I mean REAL NEWS, not the Trump-boosting rabble rousing that has become a trademark of the so-called "Fair and Balanced" network. She reports, she decided, and 2017 is looking better already!

NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SPORTS!

As many of you may remember, I started a blog dedicated to all things boxing, wrestling, and MMA, and I PROMISE, I will get back to it in the year to come, but for now, I would like to address the World Series of Fighting's maiden voyage at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on New Year's Eve 2016. While WSOF doesn't have the big names like Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar, CM Punk or Conor MacGregor, it DOES live up to its name by boasting a stable of fighters from all over, but, to be perfectly honest, it COULD have benefited from the over-the-top theatrics of WWE, for while there were a lot of Broadway-caliber performances, there were also a lot of boring matches that would look better in MMA's version of the straw hat circuit. Also, the St. Knicks played their first Christmas game in a year, but the Celtics left a YUGE lump of coal in their stocking, and on the official New Year's day off, the Magic made them disappear! (Any bets that the (National Basketball) Association will revoke their Christmas game NEXT year?)

NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SHOWBIZ!

What on Earth were one of the stars and two of the creators of the funny (and edgy) IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA thinking when they decided to foist the very UN-funny (and over-the-edgy, if that's a thing) THE MICK on an unsuspecting public? For those of you fortunate to have missed the first two episodes on FOX, the series concerns Mackenzie "Mickey" Murphy (Kaitlin Olsen, who should know better), who, pardon my language, is a slut, for want of a better word, who moves to Greenwich, CT to care for the spoiled kids of her sister who flees to Mexico to avoid indictment. Flee to another network, and DON'T M-I-C THIS mickey-mouse show AT ALL! In other showbiz news, Disney's(I love THEIR Mick!) MOANA, with its Lin-Manuel Miranda score, great voices, and empowering story, and Illumination's SING, with its own powerhouse cast led by Matthew McConaghey as all-but-washed-up theatrical producer Buster Moon and a musical menu from Sinatra to Swift, are VERY animated hits for the young and young at heart alike and WAY better than watching the sick MICK!

NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF STEVE!

Before I talk about my progress with my diet, I would like to stress that it doesn't REALLY matter how much you weigh, as long as you have a pleasing personality...that's 26 pounds thinner, which is exactly how much I've lost since I started Jenny Craig back in October! A few pounds from now, I officially go on maintainence, and I have the option to lose a few more Elby's (That used to be a Big Boy franchise I had the pleasure of visiting in Wilkes-Barre, PA when I was a little baby blogger.) if I so choose. I even told Santa Claus about it, and I just hope Mrs. C doesn't own a computer or other device because he told me he was trying to work off all that milk and cookies! Goodbye, old fat me! We WON'T meet again!

FINALLY...

Farewell, Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher. I hope you wow them with your mother-daughter act up in Heaven.

That's all for now, but, once again, have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, pray for the brave men and women protecting our freedom overseas and on our streets at home, keep the Founding Fathers' dream of freedom alive, AND...

Bye,Buckaroos!
Steve