Tuesday, September 01, 2015

John Records Landecker

My Illinois Entertainer media column this month is a tribute to the radio career of John Records Landecker. Other radio pros share their opinions about one of the all-time greats.

You can read it here.

The other side of the story

This organization against guns opened a gun store in NYC to make a point. What's your take on it?

Posted by New Yorkers on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Lost Lennon Song

I've never heard this one...

Monday, August 31, 2015

30 Facts

Thirty facts that sound made up, but are true...

1. Mammoths were alive when the Great Pyramid was being built.

2. Betty White is older than sliced bread.

3. From the time it was discovered to the time it was stripped of its status as a planet, Pluto hadn't made a full trip around the Sun.

4. The lighter was invented before the match.

5. Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr. were born in the same year.

6. France last used a guillotine to execute someone after Star Wars premiered.

7. Harvard University was founded before Calculus existed.

8. If you have 23 people in a room, there is a 50% chance that 2 of them have the same birthday.

9. It’s never said that Humpty Dumpty was an egg in the nursery rhyme.

10. The water in Lake Superior could cover all of North and South America in a foot of water.

11. North Korea and Finland both border the same country; Russia.

12. When you get a kidney transplant, they usually just leave your original kidneys in your body and put the 3rd kidney in your pelvis.

13. Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire.

14. National animal of Scotland is a Unicorn.

15. The Ottoman Empire still existed the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.

16. The lighter the roast of coffee, the more caffeine it has.

17. A speck of dust is halfway in size between a subatomic particle and the Earth.

18. If the timeline of earth was compressed into one year, humans wouldn't show up until December 31 at 11:58 p.m.

19. If you were able to dig a hole to the center of the earth, and drop something down it, it would take 42 minutes for the object to get there.

20. We went to the moon before we thought to put wheels on suitcases.

21. A human could swim through the arteries of a blue whale.

22. If you could fold a piece of paper in half 42 times, the combined thickness would reach the moon.

23. On both Saturn and Jupiter, it rains diamonds.

24. Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia.

25. You can line up all 8 planets in our solar system directly next to each other and it would fit in the space between Earth and the Moon.

26. The youngest known mother was 5 years old.

27. The Earth is smoother than a billiard ball, if both were of the same size.

28. Nintendo was founded in 1889.

29. If you take all the molecules in a teaspoon of water and lined them up end to end in a single file line, they would stretch ~30 billion miles.

30. In Australia, there was a war called the emu war. The emus won.

Approaching 10 Million Views

This was created after Sandy Hook in 2012. Still nothing at all done about this problem. Literally nothing.

Annie Get Your Gun

One of my favorite bands from the late 70s and early 80s was Squeeze. Their singer Glen Tilbrook is celebrating his 58th birthday today. This was their last big single before they broke up...

Around the Publishing World (August 31)

We stay on top of happenings/trends in the publishing world to help out busy writers who are spending their time doing what they should be doing: writing.


1. Another Amazon worker's story
Amazon claimed that they didn't know of any amazon employees who had been treated the way that New York Times article portrayed. This former employee begs to differ.

2. On the other hand, we can't quit you...
We want to stay mad at amazon, we really do, but then we read something like this. Amazon is about to go into home delivery of alcohol.

3. Self Publishing is Good for the Industry
We’ve always been firmly on the side of self-publishing. Wired has a great article on some of the many reasons why it’s good for the industry.

4. October 8th is Book-a-palooza
If you haven’t removed the Christmas lights from your home, don’t bother. October 8th marks the official start of the season for the publishing industry. More than 500 books will be released on that day.

5. Fifty Shades of Legal Problems
The BBC reports that the publisher of Fifty Shades of Grey has to set aside $10 million in an ongoing dispute with a business partner. In case you don't want to do the math, that’s $200,000 per shade.

6. From Avon to Self-Publishing Queen
Newsweek has a great piece on how a former Avon Lady became the queen of self-publishing. It’s apparently easier than selling soap.

Vin Scully Says He'll be Back One More Year

Ken Sumka

The former WXRT jock and WBBM traffic reporter moved up to Wisconsin a few years ago when his wife was transferred there. He hooked on to a radio station in Milwaukee and has been moving right up the ladder. His latest promotion, via the RAMP newsletter...

On the heels of Jordan Lee's recent promotion to PD of RadioMilwaukee non-comm WYMS (88Nine RadioMilwaukee), the station moves a few more programming puzzle pieces into place -- afternoon personality Ken Sumka is awarded Lee's former APD stripes and weekender Justin Barney is upped to MD. Sumka will oversee 88Nine's Studio Milwaukee sessions, the weekly 414 Music segment and the station's annual Milwaukee Music Awards. In addition to his weekend shifts, Barney will continue to write and produce the weekly feature, 5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening To.

I interviewed Ken for Chicago Radio Spotlight many moons ago, during his Chicago radio days. You can read that interview here.

No-No Pajama Man

Friday, August 28, 2015

One of their rewards

Remember those Americans who stopped the terrorist attack in France? Well, one of them was wearing a Bayern Munich jersey at the time, and that got the attention of the club. They invited him to Bayern's training session and introduced him to the man who wears that uniform for real...Thomas Mueller. Cool moment captured on Twitter...

Facebook Has 1 Billion Users in One Day

It happened on Monday. A billion people around the world were on facebook in a 24-hour period. A billion.

I must admit I was one of them.

My kids were not. They tell me they are too cool for Facebook.

New Daily Show Hire

From this morning's Hollywood Reporter: The former digital director for 'The Onion' will create viral content for the Trevor Noah-hosted program.

His name is Baratunde Thurston and he's also the author of "How to Be Black". His job on the Daily Show will be to create viral content outside of the show itself.

Johnny B Sells His House

The Tribune has the story. Nice pad. Sold for $4.9 million. From the article...
Features include six full baths, four half-baths, six fireplaces, a full-floor master suite, a movie theater, an elevator, multiple decks and an attached three-car garage.
Sounds exactly like my house.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Brian Epstein

On this day in 1967, Beatles manager Brian Epstein passed away. He was only 32 years old.

This interview with Murray the K took place just a few months before his death.

A Volunteer's Retort

As someone who volunteers hundreds of hours a year, I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically endorse this message. Thanks to "MS" for sending it to me...

Historic Chicago Taverns, Part 2

Rick Kogan takes a look at five more historic taverns in today's Chicago Tribune. I appreciate the tireless research he has done on behalf of journalism. I will have to follow his lead and check a few of these out. There are three that I've never visited.

MSNBC Moves Sharpton

Al Sharpton's show, which currently airs at 5pm Central, is being moved to Sunday mornings. Great move by MSNBC. That show was completely unwatchable. Al may be a gifted orator, but he couldn't read a teleprompter to save his life. MSNBC hasn't announced what will take Al's place, but I have a suggestion. How about news? I know it's a radical concept for an all-news station, but I sure would appreciate it.

Where There's A Will...

George Will has two things going for him in my book. #1, he is a Cubs fan. #2, he's a good writer. I don't agree with his politics, but I still like reading his column. I usually find at least one sentence that makes it worthwhile. Today's masterpiece is his column's opening sentence...
Every sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency.
We'll be reading an awful lot about Trump between now and his political demise, but I doubt we'll get a better sentence than that.

Say it Ain't So, Rose

Another Chicago sports icon accused of a rape. This time it's Derrick Rose.

This one is a little different because it happened two years ago, so it's a civil lawsuit and not a criminal complaint, but it's still yucky. Derrick's lawyer is calling it a money grab.

Cubs/Perfect Strangers Mash-Up

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy National Dog Day

Happy National Dog Day to Ivy. Right now she's where she is every day at this time. Sitting at my feet as I write.

TV Reporter & Cameraman Killed on Live TV

This is a horrible story. A TV reporter and her cameraman were doing a routine story on the morning news when someone started shooting. Both the reporter and the cameraman are dead.

LATE UPDATE: The gunman was surrounded, and he shot himself.

First Day of School

Can't get this song out of my head. My oh my what a wonderful day! (And that's coming from someone who has a dentist appointment today)

Or this song...

Fox News Vs. Trump

It looks like Fox News is now turning on Trump because he broke the rules of their recent (We won't rip you if you don't rip us) agreement by ripping Megyn Kelly again. But I think they've made a classic schoolyard mistake in the way they are doing it. Here's the headline: Roger Ailes: Trump Should Apologize to Megyn Kelly; Fox News Won’t be ‘Bullied by Anyone’.

Think about it. What would Fox do if someone demanded that they apologize and accused them of bullying? We know exactly what they'd do because they've been doing it for twenty years. They'd go on the air and imply whoever is accusing them of bullying is a puss. "Oh, wah. Are your fragile wittle feelings hurt?" That's exactly what Donald Trump is going to do to them. There's an endless game of "I know you are but what am I" brewing, with no end in sight until one side realizes that "Nuh uh" is not a sufficient retort.

Who do you think is more likely to buckle first, Trump or Fox? My money's on Fox. Their mommy is looking up Donald's mommy's phone number right now.

We're #1

According to Chicago Police, Cubs fans are #1!

#1 at urinating in public, that is.

It ain't much, but it's something to build on.

Ashley Madison

Only three Zip codes in America (according to Gawker) do not have any Ashley Madison accounts. Two are in Alaska and another is in New Mexico.

I'll be looking at everyone a little differently this morning when I drop the kids off at school. Which one of you is the cheater? J'accuse!

RIP Chico Maki

He was one of the Blackhawks of my youth. Ron "Chico" Maki passed away yesterday at the age of 76.

On teams that featured the likes of Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito, good ol' #16 was not one of the stars of those great Blackhawks teams (although he did manage to make three all-star teams), but he was an important cog. He played throughout the 60s and retired in 1975.


Many thanks Robert Feder for the mention of Kipper McGee's ‪‎Eckhartz Press‬ book ‪#‎Brandwidth in his Robservations column yesterday‬. The book has been getting great reviews from media types who recognize the wisdom in Kipper's words.

Get your copy today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rizzo Channels Moises, Cubs get SI cover

Fun Anthony Rizzo interview. He admits he has tried the Moises Alou method of toughening up his hands.

Also, is Sports Illustrated still a jinx if you only appear on the regional cover? The Cubs are about to find out.

The Colbert Guest List

Adweek has a list of Stephen Colbert's first week guests, and it's already pretty clear it's going to be a slightly different kind of show than that time slot normally sees...

"Colbert's first guest for his debut show on Sept. 8 is George Clooney. GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush will also appear on Day 1, along with a musical performance by Jon Batiste and Stay Human. On Wednesday, actress Scarlett Johansson and SpaceX and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk will be Colbert's guests, followed by another hot startup name on Thursday: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Comedian Amy Schumer and author Stephen King will be on Friday's show, as well as an interview with and musical performance by Troubled Waters. Grammy winners Kendrick Lamar and Toby Keith will also perform during the first week—Lamar on Wednesday and Keith on Thursday."

Pope-apalooza Merchandise

My favorite Pope ever is coming to America (Washington, New York, Philadelphia) soon, and the American tschotschke industry has been kicking into high gear making the commemorative gear.

The Washington Post has a rundown of some of the more interesting stuff. From the article...
“It’s amazing.This pope may sell better than sex sells,” said Rocco Palmo, a Philadelphia-based journalist who writes the “Whispers in the Loggia” blog. “You can’t walk within a mile of St. Peter’s Square without people accosting you with T-shirts, rosaries, everything but a vacuum cleaner with the pope’s picture on it.”

When my grandmother's favorite Pope (John Paul II) came to Chicago in 1979, Oma bought a truckload of this stuff. I remember when we moved to America in 1980, she gave each of us a commemorative coin. She kept the small Pope bust for herself.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Around the Publishing World (August 24)

Reprinted with permission (from me because I wrote it) from my blog at our new service, Chicago Author Solutions...

We stay on top of happenings/trends in the publishing world to help out busy writers who are spending their time doing what they should be doing: writing.


1. How One Chicagoan Keeps Winning the New Yorker Caption Contests
I'm posting this piece for a few reasons. One, go Chicago writers. Two, I love the tweet that alerted me to this Chicago Magazine article...

2. How much is Amazon paying these days under the new "pay only for pages read" metric?
I've been reading quite a bit lately about this trying to get a handle on it. On it's face, it sounds like such a an incredibly horrible deal. But there are a few pieces out there praising it, including the one I linked. According to this, Amazon pays about 1/2 cent per page view.

3. Should writers respond to negative comments on their articles?
This is a question our authors ask us all the time because most authors also write something else (articles, blogs, etc) and they inevitably get negative comments. Why? The internet is a cruel cesspool of bile. (That's my opinion as a 10-year blog writer). I personally no longer allow comments on my personal blog because I found it's better to simply stay above the fray. Life's too short to argue with trolls. You can never win those arguments anyway and it makes you look thin-skinned and impotent. Other writers disagree with me. Lots of different opinions at the link.

4. Apple's mistake was hooking up with the book-publishing cartel
My condolences to you if you own Apple stock. It's been a rough few weeks. According to this piece in Fortune Magazine, their big mistake was to make a deal with the major book publishers. Read the piece and judge for yourself if you agree or not.

5. Another look at Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken"
The New York Times Book section took a new look at one of the classic American poems, Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". I'm guessing my fellow writers will find this story as interesting as I did. There's apparently a new middle ground theory about the poem's meaning.

6. Mastering the Radio Interview: 10 Tips for Authors from a Talk Radio Host
As a twenty-year radio veteran and a frequent radio guest for the past ten years, I can tell you that the linked article is the best advice I've ever read for authors who are planning on appearing on a radio show. It gives you tips for how to get booked, what to expect when you're on the air, and what to say or do when you get your chance. All of it is true. Great stuff.

How Not To Run A Sales Department

I know that times are tough in radio and television ad sales, but this story from the Courthouse News in Arkansas is unbelievable...

"Defendants were at risk of not obtaining this lucrative, advertising business account. It was during this time of high stress and pressure to obtain this account that plaintiff was requested to perform sexual acts or favors for potential male clients to obtain advertising business for defendants," she says.

There was nothing subtle about it, Easby-Smith says. She claims that Wilkinson "specifically requested and pressured plaintiff to bypass the adverting agency, contact the large, potential client directly, call immediately, and do whatever was necessary to obtain their business for defendants, including performing inappropriate sexual acts or favors. Defendant Wilkinson verbally requested and demonstrated the type of sexual acts that he said plaintiff should engage in to obtain the large, advertising client for the monetary advancement of defendants' business."

Easby-Smith says she became "physically sickened, shocked and stunned by the request," which she refused.
Not only did they allegedly tell her to do this, they allegedly fired her when she didn't get the account.

Mike North Back on the Air in Chicago

Longtime Score talker Mike North has been off the air in Chicago for a few years now, but that will be changing in a few weeks. He has joined fellow Ex-Score host Dan McNeil on classic rock WDRV. Unlike Danny Mac, who co-hosts the morning show, North will be doing a Bears show. Radio Online has the details...

The three-hour program immediately following Bears games on Sundays will debut on September 13, after the Bears opener against Green Bay.

Senior VP/Programming Greg Solk told staff, "As The Drive continues our endeavor to provide the best local and relevant content to audiences. We believe there is a void on Sunday afternoons for post-game Bears talk on the FM dial. I'm proud to announce today the addition of a brand new Sunday afternoon, 3pm-6pm, show on The Drive hosted by the one and only Mike North. Mike will give Chicago a no-holds-barred wrap-up show after every Bears game."

North commented, "It's gonna be great to be back on the air in Chicago once again talking Bears! I'm psyched to be back with the listeners and on 97.1 FM The Drive. It's a perfect station for me, with a massive male listenership. Chicago, get ready for the truth about the Bears!"

The Case Against Salad

You can bet your bippy I'm sending THIS LINK to the wife today. It makes the case against salad, from a nutritional and earth-friendly perspective.