Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jose's finger

Jose Canseco is in the news again. This time for nearly shooting off his finger. From the LA Times...

The shooting happened about 3 p.m. while Canseco was cleaning his gun at the kitchen table. There was still a round in the chamber in the handgun because Canseco had recently visited the shooting range, Knight said.

“I heard the gun go off and saw his middle finger hanging by a string,” she said.

Canseco shot his middle finger on his left hand.

In the future all finger swearing will have to be done with his right hand.

Cindy Gatziolis

It was a like a Loop reunion last night at Cindy Gatziolis' wake. Despite the sad reason for joining together it was nice to catch up with people I haven't seen in a long time. Cindy would have been so happy to see us all there for her: Stan Lawrence, Brendan Sullivan, Jim Wiser, Anne-Marie Kennedy, Dina Travis Sanchez, Steve Dahl, Janet Joliat Dahl, Neil Sant, Bill Holub, Dave Logan, Garry Meier, Wendy Snyder, Leslie Keiling, Geli Corbett, Artie Kennedy, John Pugs, Cara Carriveau, Kent Lewin, John Bell, Terry Bell, Tricia Mladic, Fina Rodriguez, Colleen Nicholson Manzella, and Les Grobstein were all there in the evening, and I'm sure there were many more earlier (and some I'm forgetting in my pre-coffee apologies). I also saw a ton of WLS people who were having a reunion of their own (Cindy also worked there), and people from the other places she worked. The Mayor sent flowers, and so did the White Sox. It was a packed house for a beloved lady. May she rest in peace.

The Radio Hall of Fame

For the first time ever, the ceremony will NOT be held in Chicago this year. From the RAMP Newsletter...

The National Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is coming to Los Angeles for the first time on Sunday, November 9. Class of 2014 inductees include Charlie & Harrigan, Barry Farber, Ira Glass, Stanley E. Hubbard, Jon Miller, Agnes Moorehead and Dick Orkin. The black-tie optional dinner and live national broadcast begin at 4pm at the swanky Cicada in downtown Los Angeles. Premiere Networks' own Delilah will host the festivities, and Westwood One's Jim Bohannon will serve as the broadcast’s announcer. The event will feature live performances by Melissa Etheridge and Ingrid Michaelson as well as a special tribute to the late, legendary Casey Kasem.

Dick Orkin, if I'm not mistaken, was in the NAB Hall of Fame already, but renounced his spot there when Rush Limbaugh spouted off about something. (I talked to Dick about that when I interviewed him for Chicago Radio Spotlight). I know Orkin is working on a book, and that's something I'm eager to read when it's finished. I did an interview with his co-writer a few months ago.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Reading Excerpts From Father Knows Nothing

I'm debuting portions of my new book today to a captive audience. They don't know it, but a fifth/sixth grade class in Palatine will be the first to hear excerpts from Father Knows Nothing later this morning.

I'm occasionally asked to speak to school kids about writing, but I've never really had material that was appropriate for kids before. Now I do.

Should be a good test. Kids are always honest.

Billy Joel's Women

Billy Joel is a gazillionaire, but one area in life where he's never been successful is his love life.

This piece in the New York Post is a fascinating examination of his three wives.

It's called "How Billy Joel's 3 Wives Stole His Heart and His Money". The story about presenting "Just the Way You Are" to his first wife (as a birthday present) is a good one. She said: "Do I get the publishing?"

Nice, eh?

Chicago Radio Ratings

I'm so happy I'm not in radio anymore. The ratings used to come out every four months, and you had at least a moment or two to breathe between spankings. Now they come out every month. I do like the way Robert Feder is posting them these daypart.

Top Ten Mornings
(BBM News Radio is #1)

Top Ten Afternoons
(Doug Banks is #1)

Most Embarrassing Injury Ever

I didn't watch the Bears game on Sunday. I'm so happy I didn't.

How bad was it? Bears defensive lineman Lamarr Houston tore his ACL celebrating a sack...when the Bears were 25 points behind.

Now, that's embarrassing.

Joke for a Tuesday morning

Thanks to "SFG" for this one...

A woman takes a lover during the day, while her husband is at work.

One day, her 9-year-old son hides in the closet during one of her romps. Her husband comes home unexpectedly, so she hides the lover in the closet.

The little boy says, “it’s dark in here.”
The man whispers, “yes, it is.”
“I have a baseball,” the boy responds.
“That’s nice.”
“Want to buy it?”
“No, thanks.”
“My dad’s outside.”
“Okay, how much?”

In the next few weeks, it happens again that the boy and the mom’s lover end up in the closet together.

“It’s dark in here,” the boy begins.
“Yes, it is.”
“I have a baseball glove.”
The man thinks about the last time they were in the closet together, and decided to cut to the chase — “How much?”

A few days later, the father says to the boy, “grab your ball and glove. Let’s go outside and play some catch!”
“I can’t. I sold them.”
“How much did you sell them for?”
“$1,000,” the boy replies, smilingly widely.
His father responds, “it’s terrible to overcharge your friends like that. That’s way more than those two things cost. I’m going to take you to church to confess.”

The two go to church, and the boy’s father escorts him to the confession booth. Once inside, the boy states, “it’s dark in here.”
The priest replies, “don’t start that crap again!”

Monday, October 27, 2014

RIP Cindy Gatziolis

A dear friend of mine passed away over the weekend, Cindy Gatziolis. Robert Feder has a very nice write up about her in his column today. Cindy and I met when we both worked at the Loop in the late 80s/early 90s. (I think this is a photo from a Loop Christmas party circa 1992 or so). She was the promotions director there, when I was Steve & Garry's producer.

I interviewed her about her professional career at Chicago Radio Spotlight a few years ago (in 2008), but Cindy was much more than a great public relations person with an impressive resume.

To know her was to love her. I always believed the secret to her popularity amongst her relatives, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances was simple: She genuinely cared about people.

Before Bridget and I had kids we hung out with Cindy all the time. After Tommy arrived on the scene, Cindy was a big help. We stayed in touch long after we no longer worked together or lived near each other. When I was producing John Landecker's show on WJMK, I told her on the phone that I was nervous about our first gig for Landecker and the Legends. She showed up that night at PJ Flaherty's on the south side to lend support. When Swany and I released "The Radio Producer's Handbook", Cindy was the first in line to buy it at our first book signing--despite having just finished her first round of cancer treatments. She told me it was the day she debuted her wig in public. I never forgot that gesture.

Cindy and I bonded on another level. She was a closeted writer. She wrote some wonderful stories and sent them to me to critique. At one point we even met to work on a screenplay together--but life just got in the way.

At the time of her death, Cindy was working on a book about coping with cancer. She sent me the first few chapters a couple of months ago. I love the passion, anger, and insight of the first chapter's very first line. It says it all in bold capital letters: FUCK CANCER.

Believe me, Cindy, when we heard the news this weekend, we all said the same thing. It's just not fair that a beautiful person has been taken from us at the way too young age of 56.

The last time I saw her, she could no longer eat food and was on an all-liquid IV diet. She couldn't have weighed more than 70 pounds, but when she talked to us it was obvious the real Cindy was still there. Her voice was strong, her mind was sharp, and all she wanted to talk about was what was going on in our lives. We were joking and ribbing each other like we always had. When I finally got the courage to ask about her prognosis, she tried to be as upbeat as possible, but I could tell that she knew.

I hugged her when we left, and she thanked me: "I know you Germans don't hug". Her goodbye to us was more than a "I'll see you later." It was goodbye, and we all knew it. She sent me a few text messages the past few months, but the last time I texted her to check on her, Cindy didn't answer. I've been bracing myself for this day, but when I heard the news it still felt like a punch in the gut.

I spent all night trying to figure out a way to pay tribute to her, but I knew I couldn't properly paint a picture of how wonderful she was. So, I decided to do something I know she would have approved of. I'm featuring something she wrote to show you what a good writer she was.

One of the things we always teased each other about was the Cubs/Sox rivalry. Cindy was the biggest White Sox fan I ever met. In fact, her last post on facebook was a tribute to Paul Konerko on his last day with the Sox. When they won the World Series, I asked Cindy to write a piece explaining what it meant. This is what she sent me...

The White Sox won the World Series!
By Cindy Gatziolis

Hey did you hear, the White Sox won the World Series.

Now Cub fans, don’t get all crazy that I’m bragging. I’m still trying to believe it.

You hope your whole fandom that it will happen and each year you utter the proverbial “wait til”…well you know.

I’m often asked how I became a Sox fan, especially when people hear that I didn’t grow up on the south side (by the way Fox broadcasting—south side is two words) and neither did my parents. Dad was a westsider and mom was a way westsider as in Idaho.

I am a White Sox fan because it’s in my DNA not unlike my brown eyes. I am a White Sox fan because it is part of my heritage just like being of Greek descent.

Dad and his brothers George and Pete were White Sox fans. And those three men begat families of Sox fans. Dad even converted mom who used to be the diplomat and say she rooted for both teams. She showed her true colors in the South Side Hit Men summer of ’77 by entering or leaving a room depending on the team’s actions. Ironically, that was her last summer to follow the team.

Pete died in the summer of ’59 so he didn’t even see that World Series. Dad passed in the summer of ’94, the strike shortened season. He would have been very disappointed in baseball had he seen that happen.

Uncle George is still with us and when I spoke to him after the White Sox won the World Series, he was as happy as a kid.

My three siblings and I have many similarities but even more vast differences. Some of it in how we vote, some in how we work, and most certainly in what we all chose as professions. But our one shared emotion is a love of the White Sox.

The next generation is on board as well, my brother’s sons and my sister’s daughter. I give a lot a credit to my sister for indoctrinating her daughter who was born in Los Angeles and has spent nearly 10 years living in Connecticut, Yankee and Red Sox territory. Imagine my delight in hearing that Marinna, as an 8 year-old, set one little girlfriend straight who thought there was no such thing as White Sox…only Red Sox. East Coast bias anyone?

Last fall, the Gatziolis clan lived a dream, a dream shared by many a family. And while many have jumped on the bandwagon and seats will be harder to come by, we can take pride in that we were there long before it became fashionable.

I was on the verge of being a teenager when I spotted some cute guys in baseball uniforms such as Pitcher Bart Johnson, Second Baseman Mike Andrews and a gorgeous third baseman named Bill Melton. I can remember rushing home in September of 1971 to find out if he had the home run that would give him that year’s title. He did, and last summer, because of my line of work, I had Bill Melton in my car. I’ll never wash that seat again.

Through my nearly four decades of fandom, I never wavered. Eric Soderholm responded to my letter on biofeedback for the paper I was doing in college. Carlton Fisk became my annual early round choice in my rotisserie baseball league. Robin Ventura was the number 23 that I adored in this city.

Mom and I saw the game in which Dick Allen hit a home run to centerfield. I was able to really treat my dad to a great game when I worked at WGN Radio, which had great seats in the box next to the Daleys and two rows behind Chuck Comiskey. I think Dad was actually proud of me that day even though I’m pretty sure he couldn’t tell you what I did for a living.

In a softer gentler day, there was the time my sisters and I were headed to buy tickets and were stopped by a man asking us if we wanted his tickets. He was not a masher or a scalper, simply a businessman from Detroit (it was Tigers vs Sox) with extra tickets. Man those were great seats. It’s also the day I discovered the joy of focusing the binoculars on the Sox dugout. You could see Dick Allen smoking on the clubhouse steps.

Well, you can tell by this fan, that Sox fans are just as rabid as Cub fans. We may not be cute and cuddly. We’re not the hot babes in the bleachers that Arnie Harris always focused on. We’re just fans. We’re fans with this team because they’re part of our family. I often say, that with the exception of the living creatures in my life, and Farfo my stuffed dog who just turned 46, the White Sox are the most important thing in my life.

They connect me to my parents, my siblings and their children. And I hope that someday when I’m gone and one of those children has my seat from old Comiskey in their home, that it will be revered by their children as something special from Great Aunt Cindy and a cool connection to their favorite baseball team.

So take that Chris Berman.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Father Knows Best versus Father Knows Nothing

Father Knows Best (1950s) versus Father Knows Nothing (2010s). The "Father Knows Nothing" book will be available via Eckhartz Press in November. A perfect holiday gift for the hapless dad (and aren't we all?) in your family. Pre-orders will begin on November 1st. For more info, check out the Father Knows Nothing page on the Eckhartz Press website.

Back in the (Promotional) Game

Eckhartz Press author Rich King will be on Steve Cochran's show (WGN Radio/720 AM) on Tuesday morning to promote his book "Back in the Game".

This will be different than the other interviews, because he will be joined on the air by his wife April--and also Lindsay Eanet, his co-author. (Photo: Rich and Lindsay) Should be a proud moment for Lindsay's dad--Dave. He's the sports director of WGN Radio, and a big part of Steve Cochran's show.

Be sure to tune in!

AMC buys BBC America

Well, not all of it, only 49% of it. But still, AMC will have operational control and will be looking to get BBC America into more homes.

If that means BBC News will more available, I'm all for it. I watched in Switzerland when I was over there last month, and it was like a breath of fresh air. I had forgotten what a real newscast was supposed to look like.

Between Two Ferns

Brad Pitt encounters a very dick-ish Zach Galifiniakis.

"Is it hard for you to maintain a suntan?" "Why?" "Because you live in your wife's shadow."

Very funny. I couldn't figure out how to embed, so I only posted the link (above). It's worth five minutes of your time.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Father Knows Nothing

I'm starting to get very excited about my upcoming Father Knows Nothing book (which comes out in November via Eckhartz Press). Everyone in the family has signed off on the cover illustration by Dave Mosele. Here it is, still uncolored...(An actual photo will be inside the book)

The Alma Mater Statue

From today's Daily Illini...

A University employee reported on Friday afternoon that someone damaged the Alma Mater statue at the corner of Wright and Green streets. “On the Alma Mater herself, it looks like someone took a sharp object and scratched up the eyes,” University Police Detective Sgt. Tom Geis said. He added that the eyes on one of the figures next to Alma, known as “Labor,” also had similar scratches on it.

I'd like to point out that the picture below was taken several months ago. I have an alibi for every day since.

Foo Fighters at Wrigley lineup

All Chicago bands will open...including the always great Cheap Trick, Naked Raygun, and Urge Overkill.

If Dogs Could Apologize

Thanks to "JS" for sending this one. As a dog owner, I can relate...

Soccer versus Football

I love football, but I have no complaints with the observations of John Cleese. When he's right, he's right.

To Trust or Not To Trust

From Tom Taylor's NOW column, an analysis of the latest Pew Research study about where people get their news...

How trusted are talk radio and TV as news sources? Rush Limbaugh is at the top of the list that he doesn't want to be on, from a new Pew Research Center study. 39% say they distrust him, the highest of any personality or program in the research. Limbaugh does have considerable awareness, with 66% saying they’ve heard of him. But only 8% say they get their news from him, and only 12% say they trust him. Glenn Beck is third on the “distrust” list at 24% (remembering that he’s on radio and also online, as many other pundits are). Beck's awareness is at 49%. The “Sean Hannity Show” is fifth, at 21% distrusting. (His “heard of” is at 45%.) Further down is NPR, at 9% “distrust,” 53% “heard of,” 20% “get news from,” and 29% “trust.” Liberal talker Ed Schultz is at 5% on the “distrust” list, but only 15% have heard of him. Just 3% get news from him. Beck’s TheBlaze is at 3% “distrust” and 18% “heard of.” That’s the radio-related group of personalities and services mentioned by Pew.

No offense, radio world, but listeners should not be "getting their news" from anyone on this list. They are not newscasters (except NPR). Have we forgotten what news is?

Net Neutrality

The FCC asked for comments regarding their ruling on Net Neutrality (which essentially gives big companies the right to charge more for faster internet service, while depriving others who can't afford it), and they got more than they bargained for. From the FCC's blog...

It is now well known that the FCC’s Open Internet docket is the most commented upon rulemaking in the agency’s history, with more than 3.9 million submissions to date filed both through our Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), our dedicated email address, and via the additional option of Comma Separated Values (CSV) files. Regardless of the method through which a comment was filed, every comment submitted has been made part of the official record of this proceeding.

The comments are being made available at the website, which is good, but nowhere in this lawyer's release does it say that they are actually being read by the FCC. I'm hoping an activist group spends some time and goes through them. Don't let them say "We received some in favor and some against, and made them all available. What's the problem?" The problem, of course, is that we need to be ready with the actual totals to point out there weren't just some on each side: "One side had 3.8999999999999 million. The other side had three e-mails."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Paul is Still Alive

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac, this little tidbit from 45 years ago today...

October 22, 1969…Paul McCartney issued an official press release through Apple stating that he was not, in fact, dead, as had been rumored. He then retired to his farm in Scotland where LIFE magazine tracked him down to prove he was still alive.

Wrigley Construction 2014

This is a jarring sight. Thanks to Dane Placko for the photo...

Giant-friendly version of ‘Royals’

A KCBS radio reporter has done a Pro-Giants parody of "Royals" by Lordes.
You can listen to it here.

I hope the series gets better. That was a bummer of a game last night. I'm rooting for a seven game series.

More About the Hacked Radio Station

From this morning's Tom Taylor NOW newsletter...

It’s a like a real-life Halloween fun-house, because the off-shore hackers are still slipping into the cluster’s in-house network server every day and creating fresh horrors. After being dark for seven hours on the first day of the invasion, the stations did manage to get back on-air without paying the ransom of $500. (The hackers wanted it in untraceable Bitcoin currency.) But it’s a mess at Stannard Broadcasting-owned country KVVP Leesville (105.7), adult alternative KROK South Fort Polk (95.7) and AC “Mix 106.7” KUMX North Fort Polk. Radio World says the problem affects all three. The staff toiled through the weekend on the problem, complicated by the fact that one of the stations is installing a new transmitter. The irony is that the hackers probably don’t even know they penetrated a radio operation – they just know they gained control of a computer whose files they can mess with. One issue may be the Windows XP system used by the cluster, which is no longer supported by Microsoft. Automation provider RCS isn’t the service provider to Stannard, but its Dwight Douglas tells this NOW Newsletter that “We’ve been urging our stations to get off XP.”

RIP Ben Bradlee

A giant of the journalistic world has passed. Here he is talking about his incredible career...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Foo Fighters To Play Wrigley

Tickets go on sale on October 27.

Count me in.

Have you seen the new HBO series starring Foo Fighters? It's incredibly well done. The first episode was all about Chicago. Loved every second of it. The DVR is set to record it regularly now.

Stanley Cup Ring

Bridget and I were at a charity fundraiser last night and met Blackhawks public address announcer Gene Honda. He let Bridget wear his Stanley Cup ring...

Hacking a Radio Station

From today's Radio Ink...

Although they did not give the call letters of the station, The Louisiana Broadcasters Association posted a message on its website that claims a hacker shut down a Louisiana station for five hours last Friday. The LAB says ransom was demanded by the alleged hacker and the owner of the station says, "It's going to cost tens of thousands of dollars to replace computers and software in his facilities." He's suggesting that anyone running Windows XP should evaluate and upgrade to a newer version supported by Microsoft, stating there's possibly a glitch in Windows XP that can be hacked. There is also a possibility that the issue was a file-encrypting "ransomware" virus, which actually holds computers hostage.

I read up on this story, and it appears it was automation software that was hacked. If a live human being had been there, it wouldn't have happened.

Just saying.

Fighting Ebola

One of the people studying the ebola virus is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School.

His name? Raymond Kaempfer. A story about him is here.

I'm pretty sure he's not related to me, but at least now I can say that the Kaempfers are contributing to society.