Friday, February 01, 2008

Have a great weekend

We've got big plans this weekend. Pinewood Derby is Saturday. Bridget made another nice car for Johnny this year.

Then Sunday we'll be watching the Super Bowl with a bunch of college buddies. I'm torn. Do I root against those gloating 1972 Dolphins with their unopened bottle of champagne, or do I root against the videotaping cheaters shown below?

Don't forget to check back on Sunday for the latest Chicago Radio Spotlight. This weekend I'm interviewing the morning host at Kiss-FM; DreX.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Media Notebook (Jan 31, 2008)

Collected and Edited by Rick Kaempfer

Writers & Studios nearing a deal
(LA Times) Verrier and Eller write: "Hollywood's striking writers and major studios have moved closer to bridging their divide after a week of talks, raising hopes that a new contract is within reach. The parties have narrowed the gap between them in some key areas, including how much writers should earn when films and TV shows are distributed online, according to people close to the situation who insisted on anonymity because talks are confidential. The discussions could still derail, as they did in early December, these people cautioned. The parties remain apart over how much writers should be paid when their shows are streamed online and union jurisdiction over original content created for the Internet. Moreover, relations between the two sides have been marred by distrust and near-loathing as positions hardened in both camps."

One of Pepsi's ads for the Super Bowl

Grammys get interim deal with writers

(Associated Press) The Writers Guild of America agreed Monday to let its members work on the show set for Feb. 10. Neil Portnow called the guild's decision gratifying and promised a 50th-anniversary show "with an amazing lineup of artists and performances." With the guild's board of directors deciding to sign an interim agreement for the awards ceremony, the Grammys will escape the fate that befell this month's Golden Globes


TV Showman, Once Exiled, Returns With Video Site
(New York Times) Brooks Barnes writes: "One of Big Media’s most controversial executives is back after a period of quasi-forced retirement. Stephen Chao — who was fired from a top position at the News Corporation after, in separate incidents, hiring a male stripper to disrobe at a company meeting and nearly drowning Rupert Murdoch’s dog at a party — plans to announce on Wednesday the formation of a Web video company that he hopes to build into an educational alternative to YouTube. The site,, aggregates how-to videos, from the mundane (like “how to tie a tie” and “how to market your lawn care business in the winter”) to the strange (“how to do Criss Angel’s vanishing toothpick trick”) and the off-color (“how to train your cat to use the toilet” and beyond)."

Bob Schieffer's retirement plans
(Associated Press) Veteran CBS Washington hand Bob Schieffer, who has anchored "Face the Nation" since 1991, said Tuesday he plans to step down from the Sunday morning political talk show with the inauguration of a new president. The start of a new administration next January provides a natural transition, he said. "That's when I'll stop doing what I'm doing now," Schieffer, who turns 71 next month, told The Associated Press. "But I'll still have some relationship with CBS, at least I hope so."

FCC Fines ABC-TV and 51 Affiliates $1.4M for Indecency
(Radio Online) The FCC has issued Notice of Apparent Liability to the ABC Television Network and 51 affiliates, including ABC's O&O'ed stations, for indecent material airing during "NYPD Blue." The Commission says that each station will be fined $27,500 (totaling some $1.4 million) for a February, 2003 episode that contained adult female nudity airing in the "safe harbor" hours of 6am to 10pm when children could be watching.

FCC fine sends millions looking for NYPD Blue clip on YouTube
(WebProNews) Jason Lee Miller writes: "The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) thought long and hard about whether Charlotte Ross's buttocks were both shocking and titillating. Five years later, they've decided they were indeed, and are fining 52 ABC stations $1.4 million. Or $27,500 per Central and Mountain time zone station that presented Ms. Ross's derriere before 10 PM. In case you missed the February 25, 2003 pre-Nipplegate episode on its first run, the news of the FCC's indecency fine has spurred millions to check it out on YouTube. If YouTube deletes it for fear of copyright infringement, likely it'll pop up again from other users. If not, the Parents Television Council, who made the initial complaint and who hates any type of raunchiness on TV, has a clip of the raunchiness on their website, along with lots of other titillating and shocking clips."


Clear Channel’s challenge – keep morale up as the stock drops.
( This is real inside radio stuff, or should I say inside Wall Street stuff, which anyone who works in radio knows is the same thing. Tom Taylor writes about Clear Channel's stock drop: "“CCU” sank below the $30 level Tuesday and finished down $2.25 for the day – off a full 7%. That followed Monday’s 7% decline. Tuesday’s erosion was partly fueled by David Faber’s CNBC report of “less than enthusiastic” public support for the deal by one of its two big private equity backers...To give you an idea of the trading frenzy, check the volume: Nearly 26.3 million shares of CCU changed hands yesterday. That’s triple the normal volume. It was also twice the volume of Coca Cola (which has 2.3 billion shares) and was three million more shares than Time Warner. As for employee morale – Monday I mentioned the corporate jets (plural) that are used by the Mays family, and you wonder if some public gestures (at least) would be in order.”

Olbermann: Why I keep 'poking Bill O'Reilly in the eye'
(Raw Story) According to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, it's not about obsession. He isn't Captain Ahab and Fox's Bill O'Reilly isn't his great white whale, and, in a conversation with CNN's Howard Kurtz, he reveals that he's even getting a little bored of the constant feuding. Except, just like Michael Corleone, every time Olbermann thinks he can move on, O'Reilly "does something so outrageous," that it pulls him back in.
(Rick's note: The video of the entire interview is at the link too.)

Advertiser Sues Imus for $4 million
(Huffington Post) Samuel Maull writes: "Don Imus is being sued for more than $4 million by an advertiser on his former show who says the radio shock jock badmouthed the company and called its commercials for a book by the late President Gerald Ford "cheesy." Flatsigned Press Inc., a book publisher based in Nashville, Tenn., says Imus insulted the company last year in ads it paid for to promote a book by Ford on the Warren Commission's investigation into the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. On his "Imus in the Morning" show, the talker told WFAN listeners the publishers "have been waiting for (Ford) to croak so they can unload these (books)," the lawsuit claims. Besides calling the ad spots "cheesy," Imus said of Ford's death, "Now that he's flatLINED, you go to," the lawsuit filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court says. Marc Held, Flatsigned's lawyer, said Thursday that Ford approved the book and signed the copies Flatsigned was selling. Imus was told to read the script "word for word" and not insult the sponsor, "but he kept doing it," Held said."


Team Obama Not Courting the Press

(Washington Post) When reporters filed onto Barack Obama's press plane after his acrimonious debate with Hillary Rodham Clinton last week, one thing was noticeably missing amid the wine and snacks on the Boeing 737. There was no high-level campaign spinner to argue that Obama had gotten the better of the exchanges or that the verbal fisticuffs were part of some precisely calculated strategy. On the press bus the next day, mid-level aides dealt with travel logistics but made no attempt to shape the coverage.


The Soprano's and 30 Rock win SAG awards
(TV Week) Andrew Krukowski writes: "The Sopranos took home all three of the Screen Actors Guild Awards for which it was nominated—ensemble, lead actor and lead actress in a drama series—placing a definite final bullet point on the iconic HBO series. James Gandolfini kicked off the evening with his fourth SAG win for his portrayal of Tony Soprano. 'This is our last official act as ‘Sopranos’ together,' Mr. Gandolfini said. His castmate Edie Falco won for actress in a drama series, also her fourth win. 'I have fallen in love with these people [the cast of "The Sopranos"]—I don’t know how you walk away from that,' Ms. Falco said. On the comedy side, NBC’s 30 Rock received Actor statuettes for its leads, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, while NBC’s The Office nabbed its second consecutive comedy ensemble award."

An interview with Karen Hand
(Chicago Radio Spotlight) This past weekend I interviewed former WLS, WXRT, B-96, and WCKG personality Karen Hand. She told some great stories about her days at WLS and B-96, and explained what she is doing now. Coming this weekend: An interview with Kiss-FM's morning man, DreX.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Suburban Man: A Wacky Remedy

By Rick Kaempfer

My wife and boys decided shortly after I became the stay-at-home dad that “care-giving” wasn’t exactly my strong suit. It might have something to do with my German “quit your bellyaching and tough it out” approach to illness. Unfortunately, we’ve discovered together that some illnesses can’t be beaten simply with a strong will and a glass of ginger ale.

So, when the boys get sick, even though I’m the one that’s home with them, I’m in constant touch with the tower asking for help. Normally I just do exactly what my wife tells me to do, but every now and then she’ll give me some advice that makes me question her own qualifications.

For instance, about a month ago when Johnny had a hacking cough keeping him up at night, she suggested something that seemed completely crazy.

“Rub some Vick’s on the bottom of his feet,” she said.

I was waiting for the punch line…and it never came.

“On the bottom of his feet? Where did you hear that one?”

“I got one of those mass e-mails that had been forwarded a million times from the sister of my friend’s mother’s neighbor the other day, and this e-mail claims it works like a charm.”

Of course.

“Was she writing from Nigeria, and did she also suggest you give her all of your bank account information?”

“No, this is legit.”

“Sure sounds like it. Have the mass forwarded e-mails from the sister of your friend’s mother’s neighbor ever been wrong?”

“Just do it.”

“Did the e-mail end with ‘forward this to ten of your best friends and you will have ten years of good luck’?”

“Shut up and get the Vapo-Rub,” she said. “It’s in the medicine cabinet.”

When I told Johnny what I was about to do, he looked at me like I was crazy.

“On the bottom of my feet?” he asked. “What did mom say to do?”

“This is her idea,” I said, with a roll of my eyes. “Just let me do it this one time to prove to your mother it doesn’t work, and we’ll never have to do it again.”

He seemed to accept that explanation and went along with it.

A funny thing happened that night. He didn’t cough, and he slept like a baby. When his brothers got sick the next week, I tried it on them too. It worked again. When Bridget got sick the following week, it worked for her too.

I haven’t gotten sick yet, so I can’t tell you how it feels, and I still don’t understand how it works, but I’m not rolling my eyes anymore. Apparently, the sister of my wife’s friend’s mother’s neighbor is the Doctor Spock of our generation. That must be why her e-mails get forwarded millions of times.

How smart is she? Mr. Vick doesn’t even know about the power of his own product. I read every word of the packaging and it doesn’t say a thing about putting it on the bottom of your feet.

Have any of you heard of this remedy?

If so, have you had similar success?

This originally appeared on my blog at NWI Parent, "Father Knows Nothing." If you haven't yet checked out "Father Knows Nothing", there are several new columns there that I haven't shared here at Suburban Man headquarters.

Click here to see them.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday Musings

Every Monday stop by for jokes, links to stories you might have missed, amusing photos and video, and more. Contributions and suggestions are welcome and encouraged. Click on the "Email Me" link on the right to contribute.

Joke of the Week:
Guns & Doctors. Contributed by my Republican friend "A."

(A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.
(B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.
(C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.
Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health Human Services.

Now think about this:

(A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000.
(Yes, that's 80 million)
(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500.
(C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188.
Statistics courtesy of FBI

So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. Remember, 'Guns don't kill people, doctors do.' FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR. Please alert your friends to this alarming threat.We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!! Out of concern for the public at large, I withheld the statistics on lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical attention!

Stories You Might Have Missed

1. Drew Peterson's lawyer reaches new low
(You won't believe his response to an angry e-mail. I'm pretty unshockable, but this even shocked me.)

2. Drew Peterson's secret admirer
(See if you can guess what made me laugh in this story.)

3. A GOP operative creates a new anti-Hillary group.
(Another shocking story. You won't believe the acronym of this group. I'm not exactly a Hillary fan, but these guys--who are pretty mainstream Republican fundraisers--are going waaaay over the line.)

4. Sangria is against the law in Virginia?
(Yes, and it has been since 1934)

5. Obama's Top Ten Campaign Promises
(This is the top ten list he delivered on Letterman Friday night. Very funny.)

Yikes, we lost two more this week. Sad stories...

Chicago News Anchor Randy Salerno dies in snowmobile accident
(He was only 45)

VIDEO: One of Heath Ledger's last interviews, talking about upcoming Batman movie
(He was only 28)

Video of the week: Contributed by "E". Movie predicts NFC Championship Game twenty years before it occurs.

Picture of the week: Contributed by many. Best gravestone ever...

Reader Response

Regarding "Just One Bad Century"

"I heard about the release of this website on WGN's "The Noon Show," a few days ago.
Great information, excellent layout, amazing pictures...very well done - I'm telling everybody I know about this site. Let's bring it home this year! GO CUBS!"

"Great interview with Bob Sirott... I was sitting here going: 'Now that's a familiar voice???' I really like the website...I'll forward it onto some friends...including the ones that have an appreciation for fine mustaches."

"Can I just tell you how much I love this website? I can’t wait for the souvenir stand to open. I might have to use your logo as a new Cubs tattoo (to add to the one I already have)."

Rick responds: We're getting there on the Souvenir Shop. Hang in there. Also, for those of you who didn't hear my interviews with Sirott or Steve Cochran, you can click here to hear them.

358 days until we get a brand new President