Friday, March 24, 2017

Podolski's Last Stand

It was his very last game for the German National Team, and Lukas Podolski went out in style, knocking in the game winner against England...

Not Quite There Yet

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Weather Report

My son's soccer practice was canceled last night because of frigid temperatures. Look what WGN-TV is forecasting for tomorrow...

Friday’s surge to 74°—a rare 48° two-day increase—to become Chicago’s warmest since Nov. 1; only 10 years since 1871 have produced three 70s so early in the year; lake winds and rain to drop weekend temps from I-80 and north

One town that won't let you down, it's my kind of town.

It's Come to This

Presented without comment...

Fattest Cities in America

Pfew. Chicago didn't make the list this year. Neither did Milwaukee (somehow)...

Stephen Colbert

Love the fake news segment in his monologue last night...

World's Greatest Leader?

I love him too, don't get me wrong, but World's Greatest Leader?

‘Internal Headache’ At Fox News

Vanity Fair has a piece this morning about the internal conflict going on at Fox News over Judge Napolitano's role in creating an international incident the other day...

“The key thing Judge Napolitano did was to say ‘Fox News is reporting that…,’ and he can’t say that,” this insider told me. “That breaks the trust, and you saw what it cost him,” the insider told me. “He is not a reporter and knows he’s not a reporter.” This person noted bluntly that the judge’s comments, and Trump’s parroting of them, have created an internal headache: “It’s a disaster. It’s a nightmare.”

Despite the headaches for the journalists at Fox News, the main risk to the Murdochs (other than credibility) is the effect the backlash could have on their proposed deal to purchase outright Sky News, which was scuttled once before in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal. It could also call unwanted attention to a number of deeper cultural problems that lie beneath the network’s thriving ratings.

Believe me, Rupert Murdoch does not want a real accounting of how his news network behaves. Just last night they were running a chyron saying that "Trump's Wiretapping Claims Proven Correct".

Um no, that's not true at all. It should matter that it's not true. (Redstate.com, a conservative website, explains the many reasons it isn't true. Is that fake news too?)

Seeding discontent when your party is out of power is one thing. It's irresponsible, contemptible, and horrible, but it doesn't have the potential of destroying the world.

When you have a president who actually believes the partisan hackery that is often passed off as news on Fox, it can reverberate around the globe. Go back and watch the German reporters asking Trump questions at the press conference last week. They couldn't believe that Trump really believed the nonsense he was spewing. They objectively see Fox News for what it is, and they were completely shocked when he quoted Fox News to them as a legitimate source.

It just isn't. In the past all Republicans in office at least recognized that. They used Fox News to help them, but they knew it wasn't really a news source. It was a friendly propoganda wing, and was always treated as such.

But right now your temple-throbbing crazy uncle is the president. And he believes every word.

For the sake of the country and the world, let's hope those three or four actual journalists at Fox News prevail upon their colleagues to proceed with caution. Or, let's hope that Rupert Murdoch's insatiable greed will make him temporarily order his people to at least take a seat on the reality bus.

I'm starting to believe that could actually happen.

NFL Cutting Down Commercial Breaks

This is great news. As it is, I'm down to three sports I can watch on TV (MLB baseball, EPL soccer, and NHL hockey). I'd love to put football back on the list. There are two things that need to happen for me.

1. The Bears have to stop sucking.

2. The NFL needs to cut back on commercials, especially that ridiculous commercial break after extra points. That always drove me crazy. Touchdown! Commercial. Extra point. Commercial. Kickoff. Commercial. Aaargh.

According to Variety this morning, the NFL has heard the complaints and is going to eliminate that needless commercial break after extra points. It's a start.

Now the Bears just need to stop sucking.

Scott Turow

Had a wonderful time last night at Cliff Dweller's on the 22nd floor at 200 S. Michigan Avenue. The venue is spectacular (seriously considering becoming a member), and the conversation was memorable.

Don Evans, the man behind the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, was the moderator of the event and asked great questions, but I've discovered I can listen to writers talk about writing all night long. This was no different, and Scott Turow is a great conversationalist.

I also met a bunch of really interesting people including some potential Eckhartz Press authors, editors and video-ographers, plus a few notorious Chicagoans that once got President Obama in trouble. I even got myself booked to speak at a few libraries.

All in all, a great night. Next time one of these events happens, you should join me. We'll have a good time.

(Photo by John Barnicle)

World Baseball Classic

I understand it was a great spectacle, and it's one I would have loved to watch. Sadly, I don't get the MLB Network.

The USA won, defeating Puerto Rico in the final.

The New York Times has the story.

No Minutia Men This Week


Dave is in California for spring break, so the Minutia Men team will not be gathering for a broadcast this week.

We'll return next week with Episode #44.

Spanish Radio in Chicago

From this morning's Tom Taylor column...

Chicago’s new Spanish sports station isn’t based around “ESPN Deportes.” As Univision said just before Christmas, it’s launching its own “Univision Deportes Radio” on a charter lineup of ten O&Os, including former Spanish talk WRTO Chicago/1200. That one, says Robert Feder, counts the Spanish-language play-by-play of the MLB World Champion Cubs, American League White Sox, NFL Bears, NBA Bulls, NHL Blackhawks and “as of earlier this month, Chicago Fire soccer.” In fact, “futbol” is a major identifier for Univision Deportes Radio (December 20 NOW). Other announced major-market affiliates include New York’s WADO/1280, L.A.’s KTNQ/1020 and Miami’s WQBA/1140. Univision knows its market and the affinity for soccer - Analyst Bishop Cheen notes in his latest “Capital Letters” blog about sports and social media that “Facebook has a new distribution deal with Major League Soccer and Univision Deportes” for live-streaming soccer matches.

RIP Dallas Green

He was the best general manager of the Cubs in the second half of the 20th century. Dallas Green was 82.. Here is his writeup from Just One Bad Century's Every Cub Ever...

~Dallas Green 1934 (Cubs GM 1982-1987)
Dallas Green may have been a pretty good judge of talent (he brought Maddux, Palmeiro, Sandberg, Dawson, Grace, Smith, Moyer, Dunston, Suttcliffe, et al to the team), and he may have been gotten the Cubs as close to the World Series as anyone else has, but he was also known for his prickly personality—not exactly the kind of personality you look for in a general manager. As a matter of fact, he had a ruthless streak. When he fired Billy Connors, a former Cubs pitcher and a widely respected pitching coach (after the 1986 season), he did it while Connors was in the hospital recovering from hip replacement surgery. According to the book “Cubs Journal”, Green pulled up to the hospital, left the car running, went up to Connors’ room and fired him, and then came back down to his car and drove away. Dallas Green resigned just over a year later, on October 29, 1987. He might have been difficult to deal with, but there’s no question that Green was one of the best general managers in Cubs history. In his post baseball life, Dallas suffered an unspeakable tragedy. His granddaughter was one of the victims in the shooting spree that also injured congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

RIP Chuck Barris

Pretty strange that Chuck Berry and Chuck Barris died in the same week. Barris was 87 years old.

For me, he will always be the host of the Gong Show...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Riverview Park

I was there once that I can remember...but was only a very very young boy. When my family moved here from the old country, Riverview Park was a common meeting place of fellow Germans. They had lots of events there. Not sure what made me look for this today, but I found two reports about the old joint.

This first report was on the 100th anniversary (by Tony Lossano)



This second report goes back to 1981...



The park closed in 1967.

DeJesus Replaces Hollandsworth

From today's Robert Feder column...

Look for former Chicago Cubs outfielder David DeJesus to be tapped as Cubs pre-game and post-game analyst on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, alongside host David Kaplan. He’ll replace Todd Hollandsworth, who was the network’s studio analyst for seven seasons before he was named color analyst for the Miami Marlins on Fox Sports Florida. DeJesus, who was traded to the Washington Nationals in 2013, later played for the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels.

DeJesus was a fan favorite in his two years with the Cubs (two very dark years...2012, 2013). He really connected with Chicago, largely thanks to his wife, a native of Wheaton.

I was unaware of Hollandsworth departure. That's a big loss for Cubs broadcasts. Hopefully DeJesus will settle into the role quickly.

RIP Jerry Krause

He was perpetually mocked by Michael Jordan during the Bulls Championship run because of his comment "Organizations win championships" but there is one thing that no-one can take away from Jerry's legacy.

He was the General Manager who brought Chicago its longest dynasty (6 championships in the 90s).

Krause was 77 when he passed away yesterday.

I was happy to read that Michael was gracious in his comments after Jerry's death.

Too bad Jerry never got to hear/read that.

Another Russian Shoe Drops

This well sourced story by the AP is about the shady pro-Russian deals of Paul Manafort.

It's from the time BEFORE he became campaign manager, but it REALLY looks bad.

Clearly not fake news. This is the Associated Press.

WSJ Turns on Trump

First it was Fox News (sort of), and now it's the Wall Street Journal (sort of). I'll say it again--Rupert Murdoch, you have the power to save this country. This is a good first step.

An Evening with Scott Turow

Tonight I'll be in attendance at Cliff Dwellers in Chicago (a truly cool spot on the rooftop of 200 S. Michigan Avenue if you've never been there) for an Evening with Scott Turow.

Click here if you want to join us.

Here is the description of the event...

Cliff Dwellers is pleased to welcome its Honorary Member Scott Turow, a highly-acclaimed author and attorney, for an evening of dinner and conversation. The program, organized by Cliff Dweller Donald G. Evans, Founding Executive Director of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, will focus on Scott’s literary accomplishments, his writing process, and the intersection between his legal and literary careers.

His 11th novel, Testimony, will be published in May of this year. He is the recipient of many literary awards, including the Heartland Prize in 2003 for Reversible Errors, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award in 2004 for Ultimate Punishment, and the Carl Sandburg Award in 2016.

The evening will begin at 4:30 when the bar opens. Dinner will be served at 6:30 with the salon to follow. The Book Stall will be on hand to sell Scott's books.

Hot Pants

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Whoops

This South African soccer player really stepped in it when he was doing his postgame press conference. He thanked the fans, but then he also thanked his wife AND his girlfriend, and spent the rest of the clip apologizing to his wife.

Very awkward.

Fox News Finally Does the Right Thing

It took the president creating an international incident, but it appears that Fox News has finally realized that they can't just say whatever they feel is true anymore. They need actual facts. That's why Shep Smith and Bret Baier both said that they could not back up Judge Napolitano's assertion about Obama using British Intelligence to spy on Trump. And that's why the network took the unusual step of yanking the Judge off the air.

I think they know now that this current president actually believes what he sees on their network. On behalf of the country and the rest of the world, it sure would be swell if they would do a few more reports.

For instance, point out that Obama didn't send anyone to take your guns away. He wasn't born in Kenya. He isn't a Muslim or a terrorist-sympathizer. You can't fix terrorism by saying the words "Radical Islamic Terrorism". White people are not the most discriminated against in this country. Religious freedom is not under attack. It's not a sign of Armageddon that someone says "Happy Holidays". Poor people are not living the life at the Ritz Carlton with your tax dollars while you struggle to pay your bills. George Soros is not bankrolling all of the protests. No one in the liberal world has ever taken the advice of Saul Alinsky (We don't even know who he is). There was never a plan to inflict martial law in Texas. There are not three to five million illegal immigrants voting in America.

All of these things have been reported by Fox News, or have been allowed to be uttered without pushback on Fox News. If they start actually applying journalistic principals to their reports, they could save this country.

I'm serious.

Chicago Radio Ratings

From Tom Taylor's newsletter this morning...

Chicago welcomes urban AC “V103” back to the top, giving iHeart’s WVAZ the #1 ranking for the week and #1 status in every daypart except mornings. It’s steady, 5.9-5.8-6.0. Down to second in rank is CBS news WBBM/WCFS (6.1-6.3-5.4, and #1 in mornings). Third again is Hubbard’s hot AC WTMX (4.4-5.3-4.9). “Mix” is second in mornings with Eric & Kathy and tied for second place on weekends. Holding fourth place is Tribune’s talk WGN (3.7-4.0-4.2 and third in mornings with Steve Cochran). iHeart CHR “Kiss 103.5” WKSC holds onto fifth place (3.5-3.7-3.9, and fourth afternoons and weekends). Where does iHeart hot AC WLIT land, two months after the Christmas rush? It’s steady from January (13.7-3.5-3.6, and in sole possession of sixth place). The classic hits battle is tight, between CBS Radio’s WJMK (2.4-3.0-3.1) and Cumulus’ WLS-FM (2.3-3.0-2.8). That ties ’LS-FM with easy oldies WRME (1.6-2.6-2.8). That’s another record share for WRME, the Venture Technologies-owned low power Channel 6 TV LMA’d by Weigel. Its weekly cume of 681,600 is now higher than WGN’s 670,200. Hubbard’s AC WSHE, the former WILV, is up total week (2.4-2.8-3.1). It ranks tenth, though the Seattle-based Brooke & Jubal show it uses in mornings is fifteenth. How about country? CBS feels a little better, with “US 99” WUSN up (1.9-2.2-2.7) versus iHeart’s “Big” WEBG (1.9-2.2-2.2). In the “weekly cume” category, both CHR “Kiss” (2,095,000) and hot AC “Mix” (2,056,800) top the two-million mark.

FCC Chairman

From this morning's NOW column...

Ajit Pai, new FCC Chair, finally says it in writing – “the media” is not the enemy of the people. NOW told you that Chairman Pai “wriggled and twice refused to answer Democratic Senators” during his first oversight hearing. Their point-blank question from Senators Tom Udall and Maggie Hassan was, Do you agree with President Trump’s assertion that the press is the enemy of the people? Pai clearly didn’t want to go on record at the hearing, disagreeing with the man who elevated him to Chairman. But Broadcasting & Cable says that in Pai’s written followup – requested by the Senators – he said he doesn’t believe the media is the enemy of the American people. B&C says the response was “short on elaboration.” And Pai mostly sticks to what he said at the open hearing, that he’s committed to the First Amendment. And responding to a letter form the Senate Commerce Committee’s ranking Democrat, Bill Nelson of Florida, Pai states that he wouldn’t penalize free speech “even if requested by the Administration.” But Pai definitely wants to stay clear of open partisan politics as much as possible – something he probably feels his predecessor Tom Wheeler should’ve done more of.

OK, I have two comments here. One--to say that Wheeler was engaged in partisan politics because he supported keeping the FCC laws from being gutted (and supported Net Neutrality which the entire country supports) is nonsense. Two--Pai is the chairman of the FCC for cryin' out loud. If saying the media is NOT the enemy of the people is partisan politics, it's time to blow up this country and start all over.

Sheesh, that pissed me off this morning.

That was a gimme question. A duh question. If you can't answer that one immediately and without hesistation, get the hell out of this job. You are not qualified.


David Ross on Dancing with the Stars

Love this...

The BTB Foundation

Last year the BTB Foundation's fundraiser (the most unusual and hilarious golf outing ever) helped raise money for my cousin's son Caleb (and several other families) who were dealing with cancer. I was so impressed with the foundation and their good work that I volunteered to help them again. Last year my friends were very gracious and helpful in donating their time, money, and/or prizes for the banquet after the event. I'm asking for your help again. If you would like to golf or volunteer, click here (https://birdeasepro.com/Event/Register/5749). If you would be willing to donate a prize, please contact me directly at amishrick@yahoo.com. We raised over $100,000 last year and we'd like to do it again this year. Sadly we'll never run out of worthy families dealing with cancer who need our help. Thanks in advance!

Schweinsteiger Really is Coming

Just a few years ago he was one of the best players in the world. He starred for Bayern Munich and the German National Team. He is pretty much toast these days (after a few real bad knee injuries), but he will still be the best player on the Fire...

Click here to see his farewell video to Manchester United.

At least there's a reason to go watch them now...in Bridgeview.

You know what, screw it. Still not gonna go to Bridgeview. What a stupid place to build a stadium.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Confirmed!

That's son #3 in the middle there with the bishop and my sister (Sean's confirmation sponsor) at yesterday's Confirmation. All three of my boys are now full-fledged Catholics.

RIP Jimmy Breslin

The great New York newspaper columnist has died. Breslin was known as a tough streetsmart mug, but he also won the Pulitzer Prize.

He was 88 years old.

Just last year Eckhartz Press' very own Robert Herguth interviewed him for his book "Genuflections: Famous Folks Talk About Growing Up Catholic"

(Photo credit: CUNY Television)

Strobe GIFs Can Cause Seizures

Kurt Eichenwald is a reporter for Newsweek who has reported on Donald Trump pretty aggressively. (You know, journalism) Well, he also is an epileptic, and when some Trump supporters found that out, they sent him strobe GIFs which they knew would trigger seizures.

One of them has now been arrested.

Forty more are still under investigation.

Culinary Radio

This is an interesting new concept for CBS Radio. From Inside Radio this morning...

Here’s an idea with a different flavor: CBS Radio Chicago is serving up video cooking segments with well-known chefs, DJs and musicians in a new kitchen inside its Chicago studios. While cooking segments may seem unorthodox for radio stations, CBS Chicago’s market manager says the “Culinary Kitchen” is a fresh way to connect with the audience and advertisers.

The segments will also take advantage of celebrities visiting Chicago and the stations.

“Our six brands in Chicago already touch a host of things that connect music, news and sports to the food industry, like Taste of Chicago and the Lobster Bash for WXRT,” said Tim Pohlman, senior VP, market manager of CBS Radio Chicago. In addition, he said at least eight of the group’s well-known hosts, including WXRT-FM (93.1) morning host Lin Brehmer and “670 The Score” WSCR-AM host Dan Bernstein, are avid cooks or Food Network fans, and have been eager to participate in the cooking shows. “It was an easy connect,” Pohlman said.

Read the full article linked above to find out more. This will be a very easy sell to clients. I tip my cap to the folks over there for the innovation.

RIP Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry really was the father of Rock and Roll. There was no-one who was more important in the development of the genre, with the possible exception of Little Richard (who is very ill right now).

Chuck Berry was 90 when he passed away over the weekend.

Watch this incredible video, Chuck jams with John Lennon on the Mike Douglas show.

WGN Radio's Steve King was a huge Chuck Berry fan. He paid tribute to Chuck on his WGN blog this weekend.

Chuck was well known for being a prickly character, and was clearly not a nice guy. He was arrested multiple times in his life, for among other things, putting a camera in the ladies room.

But his song catalog speaks for itself..."Roll Over Beethoven", "Johnny B Goode", "No Particular Place to Go", "Rock and Roll Music", and so many others. This one is, and always will be, my favorite Chuck Berry song (recorded in Chicago at Chess Records)...




Friday, March 17, 2017

Impeachara

Made me laugh...

Minutia Men, Episode 43

EP43 – Rick and Dave discuss the viral BBC Dad, rock star backstage riders, porn samaritans, every Pat who ever played for the Cubs, and Rick’s brush with Dick Butkus.

Listen to it here.

Setting the DVR

9:30 on March 27 on CSN.

It's Just Embarrassing Now

Fox News viewers, please sit down. You know that "exclusive" Fox News aired the other day? The British spying for Obama never happened, the president knew it was bullshit, but still had his press secretary repeat it to the world yesterday.

Today he had to apologize to England. Seriously.

I know it feels good to only watch news that agrees with everything you think, but it's actually harming this country. We are becoming an international embarrassment.

Sean Hannity Once Pulled a Gun on Juan Williams

This is an interesting story published by CNN Money.

After a spirited on-air debate, Sean Hannity once pulled a gun on liberal commentator Juan Williams during a commercial break.

He says it was a joke, and Williams says he wasn't worried for his life or anything. It was just wacky.

Get it? I could kill you right now. Whoo boy. Hilarious.

The Case Against Further Deregulation

As the two biggest radio companies wallow in red ink and financial difficulties, the powers that be are urging further deregulation to allow others to join them. That seems a foregone conclusion based on the comments of the new F.C.C. Chairman.

Why would he seriously consider this? He merely needs to look at the decade-long struggle of iHeart (formerly Clear Channel), which has realized they will never emerge from their staggering debts. Or look at Cumulus, which is about to be de-listed by NASDAQ, and whose stock price is about fifty cents a share now. That's the future of further deregulation in radio.

Entercom and CBS are about to merge to form another gigantic radio company. They will try to install the same efficencies, streamlining and synergy, and they will fail too. Why? Because the radio stations are not worth what they are paying, they are incurring huge amount to debt to buy them, and they are only going to be worth less and less--not more.

I wrote a whole book about this. Check out my satirical novel "$everance", which is starting to read more and more like a textbook.

And yet, I read the radio trade magazines every day, and they are unanimous in their calls for further deregulation. The people running radio companies see a way of getting personally rich (that's what happened to the executives last time), and they don't really care if it brings down the industry they claim to love.

Glad to finally read a differing view this morning at Radio Ink. It's written by someone who has retired from the business (like me), so he has the advantage of not fearing speaking out.

Schweinsteiger?

Could my favorite German name soon be lacing up his boots in Chicago? It's being rumored again...

Mr. Potter Takes Questions

Incredible sight yesterday in the White House press room. Budget director Mick Mulvaney stepped to the microphone to explain Trump's budget, and came off as one of the most heartless pricks in the world. And he seemed to relish it. There was palpable contempt in his voice for the less fortunate.

After a question about a world wide humanitarian crisis--millions are starving--he was asked if he was REALLY going to cut foreign aid to those impoverished areas. He smiled and said "Yes".

After a question about Meals on Wheels he said there was no evidence it was a successful program. "If it doesn't get results, we won't fund it." (What results? It's feeding people)

He said the same thing after a question about after-school programs that feed needy kids. Bye bye now.

Now, I don't believe some of these things are really going to be cut (a third of the State Department? At a time of unprecedented strife around the world? I don't think so). But it was still startling to see him in action.

I get that we're in financial duress. I get that things will need to be cut. But you don't have to love doing it. He clearly does. He practically had a boner when he was discussing these things.

Mr. Potter would have been proud.

St. Patrick's Jokes

Thanks to "SK" (an Irishman) for sending these...

What do you get when you cross poison ivy with a four-leaf clover? A rash of good luck.

Why can't you borrow money from a leprechaun? Because they're always a little short.

Why don't you iron 4-Leaf clovers? Because you don't want to press your luck.

I went out drinking on St Patricks Day, so I took a bus home...That may not be a big deal to you, but I've never driven a bus before.

What's Irish and stays out all night? Paddy O'furniture!

Why wasn't Jesus born in Ireland? He couldn't find 3 wise men or a virgin.

How does every Irish joke start? By looking over your shoulder.

What do you call an Irishman who knows how to control his wife? A bachelor.

What's the main difference between an Irish wedding and an Irish funeral? 1 less drunk at the party

What is Irish diplomacy? It's the ability to tell a man to go to hell. So that he will look forward to making the trip

"I married an Irishman on St. Patrick's Day." "Oh, really?" "No, O'Reilly!"

Why do leprechauns giggle when they play soccer? Cause the grass tickles their balls

"I named my pee-pee 'Guinness' Ye can see 'e's 'angin' out. And when 'e saw ye with 'is eye 'e went from pale to stout!"

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Very Bad Day for Poor People

The Washington Post went through the proposed Donald Trump budget. Virtually every cut harms poor people.

Or as I heard a Republican congressman (Mo Brooks) say on television: "it creates incentives for people to work."

Otherwise, you'd just sit there and live the good life. They are doing it for you, poor people. It's about time you got off that gravy train. God invented poverty for a reason. (Other than to give people of means someone to hold in contempt.) Maybe if you stopped some of that selfish leeching (eating, having a roof over your head, educating your children), you'd be a better person in the mold of Congressman Mo Brooks.

I'm sure that's how Jesus sees it.

Jesus was also a big fan of tax cuts for the rich.

Another way of looking at it...


You deserve a break today

Looks like somebody who shouldn't have had access to McDonald's Twitter feed had access for a little while today. It has since been deleted...

Weird Parenting Trends

Good Housekeeping has a piece today about some of the weirdest parenting trends of the last 100 years.

Among them, lard baths, training away left-handedness, putting babies inside shoes, and my favorite...baby cages.

Dispensation

Heads up Irish friends (and relatives)...