Friday, April 24, 2015

He'll Never Amount To Anything

I'm posting this tweet for my kids...

Switzerland is the Happiest Country in the World

Switzerland is #1. The U.S. is 15th. Who can blame the people of Switzerland for being happy. Imagine if this was what you looked at every single morning. Bridget and I visited last year and now she wants to retire there.

Champions League Semi-Finals Matchups Announced

This should be an incredible game: Bayern Munich against Barcelona.

The other game is Real Madrid against Juvenus. I'm predicting Madrid wins that one pretty easily, but the Bayern/Barcelona game will be a barn burner.

Details here.

The Bravest Man Alive

Attention South Side Cub Fans! I know you're out there. Join us on Sunday afternoon at the Beverly Arts Center. Eckhartz Press author (and former Cubs usher) Bruce Bohrer will be there...sticking his head right into the mouth of a White Sox lion...while talking about the Cubs.

Cumulus & the Loop Sued

From this morning's Tom Taylor column...

Remark LLC and Celestial Mechanix say that back in 2003, they licensed a “Remarkable Mouth” spot to Cumulus for a six-month period – but that recently, Cumulus ripped off the trademarked idea for a spot on behalf of the classic rock station it LMA’s in Chicago, “Loop” WLUP (97.9). If you’ve never seen one of these spots, they feature “a close body shot of an attractive woman...the woman speaks directly into the camera, in her own voice, to introduce the name of the station being promoted…[there’s a] camera shot of the woman’s face, with emphasis on her mouth…the woman’s voice changes to a voice or sounds not her own, as she lip-synchs to promote the broadcasting content of the subject station.” That’s the description of the “common expressive and distinctive elements” of the trademarked spots cited in the suit filed in Buffalo, against Cumulus. Mechanix says “Cumulus copied the Remarkable Mouth commercials” without permission in a “deliberate and willful” manner – and it asks the court for an injunction, damages, and attorneys fees.

Of course, what they don't mention in this piece is that the Loop made those "remarkable mouth" spots famous in the first place. Remember Lorelei in the late 70s/early 80s?


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Out to Pasture

This is brilliant satire. NSFW, but brilliant. Thanks to "DS" (a gal) for pointing this out to me...

We are the World Album

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac, this little tidbit from 30 years ago today...

April 23, 1985…The "We Are The World" album was released. In addition to the title track, the album included nine previously unreleased songs by donating artists, including Prince, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Tina Turner, among others.

I remember it well. I was the program director of WPGU at the time. To me, this was the best track on the album...

Fact Checking

In a world where both sides of the political equation appear to be working from a completely different set of "facts", the need for fact-checking has increased. Journalists have answered that call, to the tune of a 300% increase in the past seven years.

The American Press Institute just released a study of fact checking. From the report...

*More than eight in 10 Americans have a favorable view of political fact-checking.

*Fact-checking is equally persuasive whether or not it uses a “rating scale” to summarize its findings.

*Fact-checks of inaccurate statements are more persuasive when the consumer and the politician belong to the same political party.

*Democrats, in general, have a more favorable view of and are somewhat more persuaded by fact-checking journalism than Republicans.

Those last two are not surprising to me at all. I think people are not looking for fact checking because they are searching for the truth. They are looking to debunk someone from the other side of the aisle. Democrats like it more, because Republicans who only watch, read and listen to conservative press are being told completely different stories than the Democrats--with totally different facts and figures. When a Democrat hears those stories, they go fact checking. But both sides only love fact checking when it proves they are right. Fact checking does nothing if it proves them wrong. Republicans in particular can very easily dismiss it as biased. It's what they do to any story reported by the mainstream press. Democrats do it too, if the fact-checker is from the conservative press.

It's the reason why it's literally impossible to intelligently debate politics now. It's a complete waste of time. Even "fact checking" isn't enough to change anyone's mind--it's only used to confirm already held views.

Scientists edited the genomes of human embryos for the first time

This sounds a little terrifying to me: Scientists have edited the genomes of human embryos for the first time.

From the Washington Post...

The work, led by Junjiu Huang of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, focused on modifying the gene responsible for β-thalassaemia, a blood disorder that can be fatal. They used CRISPR, a cutting-edge gene editing tool that's already made serious waves in the genome editing of other species. By going after genes at the earliest stage of human development -- in a single-celled embryo -- theoretically one can make sure all the subsequent copies of the gene are the superior version.

It doesn't take a science fiction fan to extrapolate the future possibilities, does it?

Kris Bryant Commercial

This is for Red Bull...

Frank E. Lee

WXRT will never be the same. After 35 years, Frank E. Lee has decided to retire.

Robert Feder has the details, including program director Norm Winer's memo announcing the news to the staff.

His last day is May 8th, and he'll be replaced in the regular lineup by Marty Lennartz.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cincinnati's Lee Elia

In my book, it's not quite Elia-worthy, but it's pretty darn close...

Bears 2015 Schedule

The NFL released all the schedules last night, and ESPN had a two-hour show about it. For those of you who think all the bad pub and medical issues are damaging the NFL, let me repeat what I just wrote: ESPN had a two hour show about the upcoming NFL schedule.

Here's the Bears schedule, if you're interested.

Everybody Needs a Stu

My childhood best buddy Stu is celebrating a birthday today. He's 52, and we're still friends. 47 years of friendship. That's Stu in the front, with another childhood friend Bill (and me) celebrating our 50th birthdays in Croatia. About ten years ago I wrote this tribute to Stu as a Father Knows Nothing column. I honestly credit Stu with saving my life...

I didn’t notice this trend when we first moved back out to the suburbs. It wasn’t until my kids started school, that it started to hit me. This suburb has changed dramatically since I lived here as a boy. According to a recent story in the Chicago Sun-Times, many of the other Chicago suburbs are also changing in the same way.

And I, for one, think it’s great.

When my family moved out here in 1968, we were among the first immigrants to integrate this amazingly homogeneous suburban society. My sister and I were very young (5 & 4), and we didn’t even speak English in our household. My family had only been here slightly more than a decade, and had lived in a Chicago neighborhood with a circle of fellow German immigrant friends, none of whom spoke English in their homes either. Moving to the suburbs meant moving out of our comfortable German bubble and into America proper.

How German were we? My mother actually sent me to school in lederhosen because she had no idea how strange that looked to the other kids. I had to learn English in school. I played a sport, soccer, that the other kids in the neighborhood didn’t even know existed.

Every time I watch my sons play soccer now I relive those childhood memories. There are dozens of kids on these teams going through the same thing I went through in 1968. We have Polish kids, Mexican kids, Indian kids, African kids, Arab kids, Asian kids, and just about every other nationality you can name.

It’s not the similar experience, however, that makes me smile when I watch immigrant kids with their families. It’s the differences. For one thing, immigrant families are common now in the suburbs, and nobody bats an eye. The "normal" American kids don't consider it odd at all.

It was a little different in 1968. As my mother puts it now: "the school nurse was calling us every day." The bigger kids picked on me physically. They made fun of my name, my heritage, my sport, and our accents (Hogan's Heroes didn't exactly help, either). I felt like a freak...and I was a white kid. I can only imagine what it would have been like for an Asian kid, or an Indian kid, or an African kid.

I can point to the precise moment my life changed forever. The neighbor boy Stu rang our doorbell, and said: “Hi, I’m Stu, and I’m going to be your best friend.” Stu took me under his wing, showed me what it was like to be a normal American boy, and helped transform a dangerously shy German boy into just another kid in the neighborhood. By the time second grade started, it was effortless. I felt I belonged.

Kids today don’t need a Stu to rescue them anymore because they have a whole classroom of Stus. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. A Vietnamese boy named Phat (pronounced just the way you think it’s pronounced) moved into the neighborhood and none of the kids made fun of him. In fact, they embraced him. The “normal” kids were interested in learning about life in Vietnam, and they instinctively knew that it was their job to help him adapt to America.

That's the part that makes me smile the most.

Ode to Teachers

Every time I go into a classroom to talk to kids (as I did yesterday), I marvel at the skills of their teachers. I have three kids and I can't control them all at the same time...EVER. Teachers have 20 (or more) at a time, and appear to control them all at the same time--effortlessly. Inconceivable. I saw this in the Washington Post this morning, and thought I'd pass it along on behalf of all the teachers out there...

Eight Things Teachers Want You To Know About Them

Kermit in the Wild

A newly discovered species of frogs looks just like Kermit.

As far as I know they don't sing, dance, or tell jokes--but they do really look like Kermit. See below...



(Photo Credit: Brian Kubicki/Getty Images)

And I Love Her

Rolling Stone posted this--a rare Kurt Cobain cover of "And I love her" that he was singing to his daughter...



This is a special song to me--the first dance at my wedding. Our wedding's version was a cover too. The German Oom-pah-pah band sang it with a German accent. Let's call it a tribute to the Beatles' Hamburg days.

Dirty Deeds

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

Phil Rudd, the now-former drummer for AC/DC, has entered a plea of guilty in a New Zealand court to charges that he had threatened to kill his assistant and possession of drugs. CNN reports that Rudd, 60, had previously denied all of the allegations, but entered the surprise guilty plea on Tuesday before his trial was due to begin. Rudd was arrested last November after police found methamphetamine and marijuana while executing a search warrant at his home in New Zealand. According to a court summary, Rudd had fired several employees after his solo album flopped on the charts. A month later, he called an associate and said he wanted his personal assistant "taken out." Later, in what many legal scholars now believe to have been an all-advised move, Rudd called his assistant and said, "I'm going to come over and kill you."...If convicted, Rudd could face up to seven years in prison for the charge of threatening to kill. He's currently free on bail until his sentencing hearing on June 26.

The Blackhawks

I was fast asleep. I made it through the first overtime, but I couldn't stay up any longer. It didn't end until the third overtime. Here's a portion of the AP report from Yahoo...

They played for 101 grueling minutes, beginning Tuesday night and running into early Wednesday morning. The Chicago Blackhawks, looking for control of the first-round series. The Nashville Predators, searching for a split of their first four playoff games. Enter Brent Seabrook, a physical defenseman with a penchant for big postseason goals.

Seabrook scored on a booming slap shot 1 minute into the third overtime, and the Blackhawks beat the Predators 3-2 in the longest game of this year's NHL playoffs so far.
The Hawks only need one more win to get to the next round, but let's face it, they aren't playing great. This Nashville team is missing some of their best players.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Back to School


This morning I'll be talking to an elementary school in my area, and reading portions of "Father Knows Nothing". Looking forward to it. My favorite part is always the Q&A session afterwards. That's guaranteed to provide at least a few unexpected twists and turns.

Jon Stewart Announces Departure Date


His last Daily Show will be on August 6th.

Variety has the details.

Here Comes Another One!


Addison Russell is set to be called up to the Cubs today. He's considered one of the top 5 prospects in all of baseball. He'll play 2B, giving the Cubs and infield of Rizzo, Russell, Castro & Bryant.

Details are here.

Starting to get a little giddy.

The Peabody's



The list of winners was announced yesterday, and this year it includes Comedy Central's Amy Schumer (Really?), CNN's coverage of VA & Nigeria, NBC/MSNBC's Richard Engel, and HBO's John Oliver.

See the full list here.

Landecker & Jeffries

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter, this little tidbit from two Chicago radio pros...

We thought you'd get a kick out of this vintage photo that was shared by Jan Jeffries, Cumulus SVP of Programming and PD of Classic Hits WLS-FM/Chicago. Sharp-eyed readers will recognize a couple of dashing radio icons -- that's Jeffries (right) and fellow legend John Records Landecker (left) during a much earlier tour of duty at WLS -- this photo was taken in 1985 during a station party. As Jeffries explains to RAMP, "I just happened to run across this photo in a box of old pictures -- I was PD of WLS-FM and John had just rejoined WLS. I thought it was cool that 'history is repeating itself' 30 years later at WLS."

Jan was kind enough to contribute several stories to "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" and this story of how he hired John 30 years ago was one of them.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Thanks so much, Citizens United


Corporations now spend more money lobbying Congress, than taxpayers spend funding Congress. Details are here at Vox.com.

Comcast Merger in Trouble

This is exciting news. Finally some sanity appears to be on the horizon. From Bloomberg...

Attorneys who are investigating Comcast’s $45.2 billion proposal to create a nationwide cable giant are leaning against the merger out of concern that consumers would be harmed and could submit their review as soon as next week.

Amen. Comcast will sue, of course, and the courts are stacked against the consumers, but for a brief shining moment there is a little sunshine. Although listen to the "reporter" analyzing the case Comcast has (at the link). One of his arguments, and I'm not joking here, is that Comcast can argue that their consumer relations couldn't possibly get worse after the merger because it's already the worst in America. He said that in all seriousness.

Mr. Spock is spinning in his grave. Logic is officially an endangered species.

A 120-pound woman ate three 72-ounce steaks, plus sides, in 20 minutes

I've heard about this restaurant in Amarillo. A good friend of mine went there--someone I consider a skilled eater (Not pictured here). He couldn't finish half of his steak.

This woman ate all 72 ounces (three times) plus sides, and she only weighs 120 pounds.

Impressive? I guess. But nothing like the girl at the Cubs game who caught a foul ball in her beer cup, then chugged. (See a few stories below)

Joke for a Monday Morning

Thanks to my old friend "DM" for this one...

A guy sends a text to his next-door neighbor:

"Bob, I'm sorry. I've been riddled with guilt and I have to confess: I have been helping myself to your wife when you're not around, probably more than you. I know it's no excuse but I don't get it at home. I can't live with the guilt any longer. I hope you'll accept my sincerest apology. It won't happen again."

Feeling outrage and betrayed, Bob grabs his gun, goes into the bedroom, and without a word, shoots his wife.

Moments later the guy gets a second text: "Really should use spell check! That should be "wifi"."

Clowns Brawl With Protesters Under Circus Big Top in San Bernardino



Do you need to know more than the headline? If so, watch it here.

My Kind of Woman

Did you see this little moment at the Cubs game on Saturday?



I guess it happened again on Sunday. This time it was a dude.

Laura Ricketts

New York Magazine profiles Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts.

The article is about her political life and how that affects her family. It's an interesting piece.

Friday, April 17, 2015

ESPN Reporter's Meltdown

A very attractive female reporter for ESPN (Britt McHenry) has been suspended by ESPN for saying some really unattractive things to a female towing company employee. (Video is at the link)

Among the things she said were...

*“I’m in the news, sweetheart, I will f*cking sue this place.”

*“That’s why I have a degree and you don’t. I wouldn’t work in a scumbag place like this”

*"It makes my skin crawl even being here.”

*“Do you feel good about your job? So I could be a college dropout and do the same thing?”

*"Maybe if I was missing some teeth they would hire me, huh?”

*“Lose some weight baby girl.”

Nice, eh? Pretty unattractive. She does deserve to be suspended for that.

Although, let me just say this as someone who has been towed for no reason, I refuse to stand up for towing companies. The employee in question probably does not deserve the wrath of this entitled reporter, but somebody working there probably does. There's a reason why they are behind bulletproof glass and have a camera trained on the pissed off people arriving to retrieve their cars (And it's not because they fear being robbed).

Once your car is towed, there is literally nothing you can do to get it back except for paying them. Even if they have unfairly towed you. Even if you can prove it. You still have to pay. They have performed their service. Towing you. Pay up or they can keep your car. Legally.

There's something very wrong about that. It's the reason why Steve Goodman wrote this song...

Today's the Day!

Guess who just got called up by the Cubs? Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Today is the Day! It's supposed to be sunny, 70 degrees, and the beginning of the rest of our lives.

No pressure, kid.

Rahm's Reporters

Robert Feder has an interesting piece following up on a Columbia Journalism Review article about Rahm Emmanuel's difficulty with reporters. In the original article, writer Jackie Spinner mentions that Rahm's office told her to contact a few specifically approved reporters to make it a more well-rounded story. She doesn't mention which reporters are Rahm's guys, and she doesn't quote them.

So, Feder followed up to get the list through a FOIA request. Here they are...Rahm's guys (and gal)

*Jay Levine, chief correspondent for CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2

*Neil Steinberg, columnist for the Sun-Times

*Fran Spielman, City Hall reporter for the Sun-Times

*Craig Dellimore, political editor for CBS Radio WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9

Interesting list, eh?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Skunk Season

It's already upon us. John Kass has a piece about it today in the Tribune.

I'm going out to get some grub killer, which the article recommends.

My dog Ivy has been skunked four times over the past few years.

Being Ringo

A fun look into the day-to-day life of an ex-Beatle by Rolling Stone Magazine.

I met him in 1989 and had him sign my copy of Ringo's Greatest Hits. OK, it was the Loop's copy. But it's mine now, and the statute of limitations has expired.*

*Plus, I got permission from the boss man.

Rocky Mountain High

From Tom Taylor's NOW column, this little tidbit about a brand new radio format in Colorado...

“K-High 1580” is the new all-marijuana format for Colorado Springs, where new LMA operator Mike Knar’s SoCo Radio vows to “do something different.” The station is owned by Pilgrim Communications, which just changed the call letters from KREL to KHIG (for “K-High”). Mike tells the Colorado Springs Gazette “We didn’t want to lease the station and continue to lose money, so we said, Let’s do something different and give voice to the marijuana industry” – in a state where pot is now legal and “socially acceptable.” Programming includes talk about medical and recreational marijuana, plus alternative medicine, yoga and other compatible subjects. This could a test of whether it’s acceptable to the FCC and other federal authorities for a product that is state-legal but federal-illegal. The Gazette says “Six Springs-area medical marijuana dispensaries have signed on as advertisers.” Lance Venta at Radio Insight adds that the flip from “Fox Sports 1580” to K-High comes as 4-20 is coming up on the calendar – April 20 being a kind of unofficial holiday for marijuana users. The morning lineup includes the “Wake & Bake” show.

I don't want to tell these guys how to sell their station to advertisers, but if they aren't on the phone to the Doritos people already, they are higher than they should be.

Viral Viner

Impressive stuff. Don't try this at home, kids.

You Still Need Permission

Not sure why this happens to Republican presidential hopefuls every four years, but it does. This time it's Marco Rubio. From the RAMP Newsletter...

Marco Rubio wrapped up his Miami campaign kickoff rally on Monday by exiting to the sound of "Something New" by Swedish duo Axwell ^ Ingrosso. There was just one minor problem -- Axwell and Ingrosso told Business Insider that Rubio's campaign did not ask to use their song and they would like him to stop. "Axwell ^ Ingrosso didn't give their permission for this song to be used and don't want to be affiliated with a particular party during the upcoming presidential race," the band said in a statement on Tuesday. Rubio's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The Tramp

100 years ago this week, Chicago film studio Essanay (located on the north side of the city) released a movie starring their newest sensation, Charlie Chaplin. 100 years later it remains his most famous film...



Note: The music at the beginning of the film, "Du Du Liegst Mir in Herzen", will become a no-no just a few years later when America enters World War I.