I'm returning to the DOYLESTOWN COMEDY CABARET above Poco's on Rt. 611 on Saturday October 11th at 9 PM. Love this club! And it always sells out, so get your tickets now by going to http://Comedycabaret.com for tickets.
TWO FUNNY PHILLY GUYS!
TWO FUNNY PHILLY GUYS starring the amazing Joe Conklin & myself is returning for it's 5th straight year to the Media Theatre in Media PA on Saturday night November 8. With special guest MC, Rob Ellis. This absolutely always sells out! Go to http://mediatheatre.org today to get your tix!
BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN
If you are a music lover and you haven't been listening to BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN with Spins Nitely, then check it out!
NEW TIME! Every THURSDAY at 8 PM. Watch and listen live at http://wildfireradio.com/big-daddy-graham.
This week? TEN BEST COWBELL SONGS EVER! Plus a ton of discussion and extra goodies. (Of course it's a podcast so you can listen to any of the previous shows at anytime).
Up now is THE TEN BEST SONGS UNDER 2 MINUTES EVER. BTW, you'll be able to call in to the podcast when you watch or listen live and I encourage you to do so. Don't miss!
Click here to hear Joe Conklin completely nailing Elvis Costello's "Allison" with Spins Nitely on guitar
and some harmony help from the boys of Wildfireradio.
Check out the hilarious Sudsy (as B52 Fred Schneider) take on the Stones "Happy" with Spins on guitar.
(LIKE THERE'S AN UNOFFICIAL)
"SHUT THE BLEEP UP"
SHIRTS AND HOODIES.
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Special thanks to my man Clothing Scott for designing this shirt and hoodie! Here's how you can contact him if you need any similar work done.
I have done a lot with my career but to sing in front of 800 nuts with the awesome Juliano Brothers was a real thrill for me...
Jim Morrison is rolling over in his grave!
Click here to read another great article from my NFL insider Darren DeGaetano. It's his 10 "Darrentees" for this years NFL season.
HEY! CHECK OUT MY TRIVIA AND QUIZZO TIMES!
TUESDAY ~ Tuesday Nights with the PHILS at PJ WHELIHAN’S in Maple Shade... every Tuesday night at 7 PM!
WEDNESDAY ~ Champps in KOP from 6 PM to 8:30.
EAGLES & NFL FOOTBALL
EVERY Birds game at PJ Whelihans in Blue Bell!
My daughter Ava is running a Quizzo nite every every Monday at 7:30pm at ROCCO'S in Wilmington! And now at CHICKIE & PETE'S in Drexel Hill every Tuesday at 7 PM! Plus every Wednesday night at 8PM at PJ WHELIHANS in Haddonfield. Don't forget Thursday night at 7pm at CHICKIE & PETE'S in South Philly!. That's a busy schedule!
RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 9/14
It's ironic that this was the article I wrote for The September issue of South Jersey magazine since some people have commented that the NFL doesn't care about the female demographic. Click here to read...
RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 9/2
Here's the latest article of the Sea Isle Times
MY HIGHLIGHTS FORM THE SUMMER OF 2014!
1. SILVER LINING What’s that silver lining expression that I never get right? Well, it applies here. In our last issue, I wrote about the death of a great friend of Sea Isle, Rick Steffa. This column is usually light in tone and I want to thank this paper for printing it and not changing one word. And a big shout out to the hundreds of people who approached me since it’s release to tell me how much they wish they would have known Rick. I know it made me, Rick’s family, and everyone who knew Rick, very happy and that’s cool.
2. THE OCEAN The ocean this summer was tremendous. First, let me explain that I have a lifelong love affair going on with the surf. I’m the dufus who remains on the beach when the rain starts to spit while families start moving enough gear to handle a moon landing. OK, I admit, that there are days when that light rain turns into a downpour and I’m drenched when I get back to my house. But who cares about getting soaked when you’re in your bathing suit? And leaving out two stinkin’ days this summer when the water was legitimately cold, from Memorial Day weekend on the ocean temps were warm and the waves were very powerful and on a couple days pretty high. As you already know I’m the Greatest Bodysurfer in the World, so I guess Comcast’s John Clark knew that was a lost cause, so on August 10th he came down to 35th St. (being he’s a “T.I.” guy, that must have been hard on him coming down to the ghetto) and challenged me to a Boogie Board match. We were out there riding the best waves of the summer for hours and I have to admit he whupped my butt. But c’mon! He’s like 6’9” or something, and at least twenty years younger, and I have witnesses that say they saw him greasing up his board with Quaker State Motor Oil, which is clearly against the International Rules of Boogie Boarding. And the results have not come in from his drug test yet!
3.QUIZZO I host a quizzo night every Monday at the Pour House and this year we had a particularly fun bunch come out. Angelo Cataldi (who was thrown out for cheating), the great comics Dom Irerra, Joe Conklin and his annoying brother-in-law John, Sixers P.A. announcer and WMMR jock Matt Cord, Brian Startare from Wildfire Radio, Lou Dog, weatherman John Bolaris with some chick from Russia, former Phil Tommy Greene along with Phillies Director of Fun & Games, John Brazer, Mike LeCompt, and Paul Kurtz from KYW were among the many who played this summer. I love hosting this night because old friends and new always know where they can find me on a Monday night during the summer. And a special shout out to the record crowd the “Two Funny Philly Guys Show” drew at the Deauville.
4. JD SALINGER He’s my favorite writer. I collect copies of “Catcher In The Rye.” Twenty-one copies and counting. All with a different cover. Some in foreign languages which is strange since I can barely read English. For some bizarre reason I took my blue SEA ISLE hoodie up to Jamaican Me Crazy and had “JD SALINGER” pressed in big white letters on the back of the jacket. And then all hell broke loose. Everywhere I went people wanted to know why JD Salinger’s name was on the back of my sweatshirt. And I had no satisfactory reason to give them. I would say “he’s my favorite writer” and this would never appear to be the answer anyone wanted. “Ok, and he’s on the back of this hoodie and why?” they would say. “Because I put it there” I would say and not in any mean way. “Hmmm” the puzzled person would mumble walking away. Now I’m doing it with other shirts and jackets that I own. I just put DR. RICHARD KIMBLE (in honor of the first TV drama I remember getting hooked on as a kid) on the back of a Yuengling hoodie I got at an appearance.. However, I was glad that Salinger apparently hasn’t been forgotten and the day before the deadline for this article I checked the “classic” section of Dalrymple’s books and they had all four copies of every book Salinger has ever written. How cool is that? Rock on, Dalrymples!
5. FILE UNDER YOU NEVER KNOW My wife loves “The Glenside Pub” sandwich at McGowans. I rode my bike over to pick it up and while I was waiting I noticed a signed color photo of former Phil Johnny Callison. It was inscribed “To John & Angela, Good Luck, Johnny Callison. Now Johnny was my favorite Phillie from back in the day and I ended up doing the last interview with Mr. Callison before he passed away. I asked Angie “where did this come from?” and she informed me that her husband John had a nephew named Tim was married to Johnny’s daughter, Laurie. Now that in itself is a “small world” kind of thing, but that was just the beginning. The owner, John, said “wait a minute” and disappeared into a back room and came out with a framed black and white photo. It was Johnny stepping on home plate after hitting a game winning home run in the ’64 All-Star game. In that signed photo are five Baseball Hall of Famers. Roberto Clemente, Red Schoendienst, Walter Alston, Juan Marichal, and WILLIE MAYS! Every picture tells a story, eh?
6. MIKE’S CRAB BALLS Mid-July. I dropped my last crab ball of approximately two dozen on the ground. I looked around and noticed nobody saw it happen. So I picked it up, smothered it in tartar sauce, and woofed it down and I’m telling you it’s the single greatest crab ball I ever ate.
7. STEVE SILICATO I first heard Steve sing at the “Sea Isle’s Got Talent” show. (Which I judged again this year. So much talent and heart!) The show is usually made up of kids and teenagers with an occasional oldhead mixed in. Steve is, I’m guessing, is in his forties, early fifties and he sings in the Sinatra, Tony Bennett style. He has a tremendous voice. I mean this cat can sing. He then started singing around the island at spots like the Commodore Club. He knows how to work a crowd too. He’s very good. But I would always get on his case because he sings with pre-recorded backing tracks. I get it, that’s what many clubs down here use, particularly at the Happy Hours. “I want to hear you sing with a band” I would tell him. Then one afternoon I bump into him during a Juliano Brothers break at the Springfield. Now in case there’s one poor soul reading this who are not familiar with the Juliano Brothers, they are a REAL BAND. Three brothers who play guitar, bass, and drums who do all their own singing. Imagine. It’s so refreshing. They are mega-talented and I swear on a stack of Playboys there’s not a song they can’t play. During their break Steve tells me he’s gonna sing with them next set. So I stick around. Then a disaster hits. This dynamic chick by the name Susan Viesti gets up and just destroys the house with an full blast version of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.” I mean she tears the packed room apart! She’s barely off the stage when Greg Juliano introduces Steve Silicato. Now look, I once had to follow Rodney Dangerfield AT DANGERFIELDS and I’m standing at the bar saying to myself “Uh, Steve, this is a really bad idea.” Wait a song or two or even a set and then come on. You don’t want to try to follow her. The room was still buzzing. But the band hit the intro of Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Of You” and out comes Steve and in thirty seconds he had the crowd in the palm of his hands. I was sincerely, legitimately blown away by his grace and calmness in an extremely tough situation. Go catch him, he’s a lot of fun. And big-time props to the Juliano brothers. Who else can transition from AC/DC to Frankie Valli in the matter of seconds. What a fun afternoon. We are so blessed in this town with the level of musicianship. It’s like living in Key West, only for most of us, only an hour and a half or so away.
8. THE WOMAN IN THE BLACK BIKINI July 26th. A date, that for me and my fellow loser dudes of 35th St., will burn in our memory forever. We were all at the beach on a gorgeous late afternoon and our wives decided to go to the LaCosta Deck Happy Hour. Out of sheer laziness the husbands just continued to sit on the beach when it happened. The most stunning woman OF ALL TIME walked by us in a black bikini talking on her cell. She was in her thirties and I’m telling you someone should have a picture of six middle aged men with their jaws dropped. We never saw her again. We’ll never know her name. BUT THANK YOU FOR MAKING THE SUMMER OF 2014 A SUMMER WE’LL NEVER FORGET.
RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 7/25
Here's the latest article of the Sea Isle Times
R.I.P. Rick Steffa
If you have been driving down Landis Avenue past 35th Street lately and you’ve noticed a slight sway in the road, don’t be alarmed. Don’t call the city. Rick Steffa died this Father’s Day of pancreatic cancer at the age of 59 and it’s thrown 35th Street off kilter.
You see, Rick Steffa was 35th St. He was as much a part of 35th St. as the tar. As the cement. As the telephone lines. Rick Steffa had been entrenched in Sea Isle his entire life. His entire life.
This Sea Isle tale begins with Rick’s Mom, the elegant and classy Patsy (she wouldn’t put out the stinkin’ trash without looking like a million bucks), who is still with us at 82 and sharp as a tack. Patsy began vacationing in Sea Isle in the early 40’s and vividly remembers Coast Guard Cutters in the ocean off our beach during World War II.
Patsy (maiden name Donohoe) meets Rick’s Dad, George Steffa, at a parish dance at St. Mike’s in North Philly and between them they began a history with Sea Isle that is still incredibly strong today. After they marry, they immediately start summer renting at 37th St.
Rick is born in ’55 and it’s a well-known fact he learns how to properly bait a hook before he learns how to walk. There has always been a boat in the Steffa family. In 1968, his Dad George builds a house on 35th St. and there you go. Forty-six years (and counting) of Steffa’s on 35th St.
Rick even met his beautiful wife Diane in Sea Isle. Their first kiss was on the beach and no one could have been more courageous or caring than Diane was through the entire year and a half ordeal while Rick was sick. Often, while we focus in on those who are ill, we take for granted the loved ones who struggle and battle every minute to keep spirits uplifted. Diane rocked.
What is it about the shore that makes it so easy to make close friends? I like to think I’m cordial to my neighbors where I live back in the states, but truth be told, I chat it up with three houses in a thirty five house development. In Sea Isle? On 35th St.? I consider myself tight with a minimum of twelve homes, maybe more. And that’s one street. I have close friends on this island all around me.
Why is that? I have many theories. Up home? Most of us end up dwelling where we do because we were born in that area. Or we move there because it’s convenient for work. Or our original neighborhoods went bad.
Down here? We end up at the shore because we can’t envision life between May and October anywhere else. And I’m not forgetting the folks who have made a real commitment and live here year round. Whatever lousy mood you were in on Friday morning back at home disappears as you drive over the bridge and see those cool Ocean Drive and Lobster Loft signs and that fantastic body of water. So we’re all in a great mood to begin with.
Throw in the fact that you’re not working when you’re down here and there you go. Back in the states, you occasionally see your neighbors before or after work. In Sea Isle? You see your neighbors all day. On the street. At the beach. On our decks. At the Happy Hours. And all the time in-between.
I only knew Rick Steffa for eleven years. That’s it. Most of my other best friends I have known since high school, so eleven years doesn’t seem like a lot. But he lived directly across the street and like myself he was down constantly. Three, four day weekends between May and October. He never missed one. Holidays and polar bear weekend also.
So truth be told I have spent more hours with Rick in those 11 years than I have with my other close friends in that same time period combined. And I bet you can say the same about a neighbor or two on your street down here.
Rick was born on St. Patrick’s Day, which on this island gives you a free pass to every watering hole on and off Landis. Throw in the fact that he was a North Catholic grad and half the town probably knew him. And he was so easy to get to know.
Rick just had this way of making everyone around him feel wanted and comfortable. His garage was legendary. On any given weekend evening you could find at least 20 immediate family members, countless cousins and in-laws, another two dozen friends and moochers like me, and three or four homeless people. If you had a good story to tell or could laugh at a good joke (particularly at your own expense), you would eventually end up in that garage. I would have paid a cover just to get in it was so much fun.
Singing? There was always music going on because Rick himself was one hell of a singer, with “soul” styling being his specialty. No one, not even David Ruffin, could sing the Temptations “I Wish It Would Rain” like Rick. In fact, Rick won the Johnny Moore Talent Show at the OD some years ago singing Motown. (Did you know Joe Conklin won it once also?)
I once dedicated an entire back page of this paper to Christmas in July and there was no bigger holiday party on this island then there was on 35th St. That was all due to Rick’s Dad, George, who started the tradition before he tragically died of a heart attack in 1977. Rick picked up the torch and would not only decorate the street to the max, but over the years bought a dance floor and a tent and then bartended all night.
Construction? Let’s be honest. There’s always construction going on in Sea Isle and Rick certainly did his share of it. I once watched him make his Mother’s second floor deck wider pretty much all by himself. Since I can barely screw in a light bulb this just fascinated the heck out of me. When I asked him who taught him how to do this, he looked at me and laughed. “Nobody, I’m making this up as I go along.” There was nothing he couldn’t build or fix and he never said no to anybody.
But what Rick really loved to do was fish. Rick has this special hot dog looking cart thing that held his fishing poles and bait and had a cooler built in to keep the various beverages cold. He would wheel it to the beach and park it and put his rod in the water. Fish a little, sit down and shoot the breeze a couple minutes, he’d never take his eye off that pole. Little kids, some he knew, some he didn’t, always got fishing tips off Rick. He had a boat that he just loved taking people out on and I will miss our magnificent sun setting trips down to the Deauville. When Rick was on hospice, his bed had been set up in the living room and there was a particularly bleak night where he hadn’t spoken for well over an hour. There was a roomful of family and friends where his son Chris was having a conversation about some tuna that had been caught the night before. Rick opened up one eyeball and whispered “where?” He couldn’t bear the thought of fish being reeled in without him being in on it. A fisherman to the very end!
So to say this has been a difficult summer on 35th St. would be putting it mildly. The window above my kitchen sink looks directly into his garage and I’m really struggling with the fact that he’s no longer in it.
Or is he? The weekend following Rick’s funeral the street was empty and lonely. I questioned just how the street was going to survive. Another week passes and now another weekend was upon us. I had just finished being a judge for “Sea Isle’s Got Talent” up at the Bandshell and was walking back home. I came off the Promenade and as I came down the ramp I saw it. A light. A light coming out of Rick’s garage.
I crossed Landis and I couldn’t believe it. It was an overflow of people from Rick’s garage. It was packed. It was, no kidding, like the final scene of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Rick’s daughter, Nicole, said to me “have you seen it?” And there on the wall of the garage was a giant blown-up photo of Rick looking down on everyone. And although this is going to sound like the biggest cliché in the word, we all realized that this is what he wanted. To see his family and friends in that garage having a good time. I believe if he looked down and saw that joint empty, it would have made him really sad.
Look, this is the hardest column I ever had to write and I can only hope I’m doing Rick justice. He was a real prince, man. Better than that, he was the King of 35th St. and he never even asked for the crown. It just fit him perfectly. And like all great kings, he’s leaving his domain in better condition then it was before he arrived. He set a tone that will survive for decades. The younghead who will keep that street alive have been schooled by the King on what it takes to party without making a fool of yourself. Yet, if you want to sing Katy Perry at the top of your lungs wearing a goofy hat, you go right ahead. It’s the Jersey shore. I can only pray that you have someone like Rick on your street looking out for you also.
So here’s to Patsy, Diane, his kids, Patrick, Olivia, Chris and Nicole. His brothers and sisters, Kevin, Joe, and Marianne and their spouses, who held it all together and threw one of the greatest funeral parties ever. I am leaving out so many important people in his life, it would take me an entire issue to cover them all.
I will not allow myself to cry when I look out my kitchen window. I will smile and be grateful for those amazing years he gave me and will continue to give me. Rick made me realize that Sea Isle is not about the beach or the ocean. Or the bars or the restaurants. It’s about the people who come here.
Long live the Jersey Shore. Long live Sea Isle. And long live Rick Steffa.
HEY! I'M LOOKING FOR ALBUM COVERS. I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE CONDITION OF THE VINYL...
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