Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I'm going to take a little while off from the blog for Christmas, but I wanted to thank all of you for participating and reading the blog this year. More than a million of you did, which is still hard for me to believe.

Have a very merry Christmas, and a happy new year!

I'll be back on January 2nd or 3rd.

Not my kid

This video has gone viral because it makes us all feel a little better about our own kids. Although, if I'm going to be honest, we did have a similar reaction to underwear under the tree once about ten years ago...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The digital story of the Nativity

Nearly 5 million views on YouTube for this one...

Cubs taking a pass on Brandon Webb

At least according to this source.

To which, I say: Good move.

$7 million for a pitcher that hasn't pitched in two years is way too much money. Let the Rangers have him.

The search for Santo's replacement

The Tribune Company actually posted the position on their website. It says: "Preferred candidate will have played with the Chicago Cubs — or played major league baseball with previous broadcast experience as a game analyst."

In his column today, Paul Sullivan lists the candidates that would fit that description: Mark Grace, Rick Sutcliffe, Dan Plesac, Eric Karros, Gary Matthews and Mitch Williams.

I'd add Keith Moreland and Dave Otto to the list too.

My top choice would be Suttcliffe, though I think he won't take the gig because he has a pretty sweet gig with ESPN. My second choice is Plesac. He's actually quite good.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Grandma reads 50 Cent's Tweets

If you're easily offended, don't click on this one. There's a little salty language. But I thought it was pretty darn funny...

A Christmas message from Snoop Dogg

And a commercial for Pepsi Max. But it's a pretty good one...

Jokes for a Hump Day morning

I got this from multiple sources. Thanks to all of you...

Just when you have lost faith in human kindness, someone who teaches at Kean Elementary in Wooster, Ohio forwarded the following.This letter was sent to the Principal's office after the school had sponsored a luncheon for the elderly.

An elderly lady received a new radio at the lunch as a door prize and was writing to say thank you. This story is a credit to all humankind.

Dear Kean Elementary,

Thank you for the beautiful radio I won at your recent senior citizens luncheon. I am 84 years old and live at the Sprenger Home for the Aged. All of my family has passed away. I am all alone now and it's nice to know that someone is thinking of me. God bless you for your kindness. My roommate is 95 and has always had her own radio, but before I received one, she would never let me listen to hers, even when she was napping. The other day her radio fell off the nightstand and broke into a lot of pieces. It was awful and she was in tears. Her distress over the broken radio touched me and I knew this was God's way of sending me a message. She asked if she could listen to mine, and I told her to kiss my ass.

Thank you for that opportunity..
Agnes Baker

Who should replace Santo?

I have my choice.

He's the one pictured here at this ESPN article about the possibilities.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sarah Palin Christmas Song

This is the handiwork of Tom Latourette, the singer of our Just One Bad Century song. He was also a frequent contributor to the Johnny B Showgram on the Loop. His latest comedic target is Sarah...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

RIP Phil Cavarretta

Phil Cavarretta died yesterday in Georgia at the age of 94.

For twenty years Phil was the face of the Cubs. He was a Chicago boy (Lane Tech), started playing for the Cubs as a teenager in the mid 30s, was the MVP of the league during their last pennant winning season of 1945, and played with them until he was fired during spring training of 1954 (he was also the manager at the time).

With Phil's passing only two players remain from that last Cubs World Series team. Lennie Merullo will be 93 this year. Andy Pafko will be 90.

Father Knows Nothing

I just posted my latest Father Knows Nothing column at NWI Parent. This week's column contains the secret to happiness. It's called "Saving another life through shtick."

You can read it here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tiny Tim & Miss Vicky

It's almost impossible to explain this moment to people that weren't alive in 1969 (and honestly, to a few like me that were), but on this day in 1969 Tiny Tim married Miss Vicky and between 40 and 50 million tuned in to watch. Here's a portion of that show...

A Cubs programming note

The MLB network likes to taunt me. They e-mail me press releases about upcoming programs related to the Cubs (because of Just One Bad Century), so I can pass it along to Cub nation. This week there's another program that I'd like to watch, but can't (because my cable provider doesn't offer MLB network)...

"Steve Bartman obstructing with Chicago Cubs outfielder Moises Alou’s attempt to catch a foul ball during Game Six of the 2003 NLCS will be featured in a new episode of MLB Network Countdown: Fan Moments on Saturday, December 18 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The Bartman incident will be ranked alongside other famous fan moments, including:
- ‘Disco Demolition Night,’ when fans brought their disco records to be blown up at Chicago’s Comiskey Park during a doubleheader in 1979,
- and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Rick Monday grabbing the American flag away from would-be flag-burners"

Bartman, Steve Dahl, and Rick Monday, all in one show. Now that would be worth watching. By the way, MLB network, you know that Rick Monday wasn't on the Dodgers when he saved that flag, don't you?

Kid-K returns

A few years ago, after the flame outs of both Mark Prior and Sammy Sosa, I made a deal with myself. I decided that I would never again wear a Cubs jersey unless it was the jersey number of a player from my youth. I kept a couple of Ernie Banks jerseys (my favorite), and I gave the Prior and Sosa jerseys to Goodwill.

But for some reason, I couldn't quite part with the Kerry Wood jersey. I was there for his 20 strikeout game. It was an important day in my life even beyond baseball (I founded my advertising agency on that day), and I felt a sort of kinship for the kid. Plus, even when  he left town, I always suspected he would return to finish his career in Chicago.

I was right.

My Sox fan friend Dave called yesterday to mock this move, but beyond even the sentimental reasons, I think it's a good move for the Cubs. So mock away. I'm fine with it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A million thanks

Yesterday this blog passed the 1,000,000 hits mark, and I didn't want to let this moment go by without thanking everyone that even occasionally checks out the blog.

Even though I don't allow comments, I do read each and every e-mail that comes in (and occasionally post them), and I appreciate all of your support. And to answer a question posed yesterday via e-mail--No, I have no plans to add advertising. I really don't like the way Google puts ads on these blogs (it's not very pleasing to the eye, and you have no control over who advertises--I don't want to inadvertently endorse someone like Ann Coulter).

If you really want to advertise, I do accept advertising at Just One Bad Century (which also gets quite a few hits), and I'm sure the good folks at NWI Parent (which also gets quite a few hits) would love to take your advertising dollars, but this site is just my personal site, and I want to keep it that way.

Thanks again, everyone!

Joke for a Thursday morning

Contributed by "MS"...

An old time golfer comes in from a round of golf at a new course and heads into the grill room.

As he passes through the swinging doors he sees a sign hanging over the bar:

Cold Beer: $2.00

Hamburger: $2.25

Cheeseburger: $2.50

Chicken Sandwich : $3.50

Hand Job: $50.00

Checking his wallet to be sure he has the necessary payment, the old golfer walks up to the bar and beckons to the exceptionally attractive female bartender who is serving drinks to a couple of sun-wrinkled golfers.

She glides down behind the bar to the old golfer. "Yes?" she inquires with a wide, knowing smile, "May I help you?"

The old golfer leans over the bar an whispers, "I was wondering, young lady, are you the one who gives the hand job?

She looks into his eyes with that wide smile and purrs: "Yes Sir, I sure am."

The old golfer leans closer and into her left ear says softly, "Well, wash your hands real f-ing good because I want a cheeseburger."

Jimmy Fallon does John Boehner

Pretty good. I must admit. Do I need to change my mind about Jimmy Fallon?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

5th Anniversary of Blogging

Today is my 5th anniversary as a blogger.

How did I decide to become a blogger? It literally happened over dinner one night.

Five years ago today my family was visiting my sister in law Nancy and her husband Randall. (I was much younger then. This photo of me was taken that night).

I had been out of radio for about a year, and had just written my first draft of $everance, and another never published book "The Bald Handbook" (It's still available, publishers!). I was also writing for Lake Magazine and Shore Magazine, but I was still coming up with a ridiculous amount of additional material and didn't know what to do with it all. After producing a daily radio show for twenty years, I had gotten into the habit of coming up with a ton of content, and couldn't stop.

My brother in law Randall said to me: "You know, you really should do a blog."

"How do I do that?" I asked.

He pulled out his computer, went on blogger, had me pick a template, and before the dessert was served, I was a blogger.

Just like that.

I've since gone on to start up several other blogs and websites, and write other books and magazine articles, but I've never stopped doing this one. My daily blog has become a sort of therapy for me. It forces me to keep in touch with what's going on in the world (and specifically my areas of interest/expertise), and allows me to pontificate about the news occasionally. I like to do it first thing in the morning over my first few cups of coffee. I usually finish up my daily posts as the boys are leaving for school. The door slam is like an alarm clock telling me to stop the therapy, and return to my real writing jobs.

But I realized something this morning. Even though I have done nearly 5000 posts in the five years this blog has existed, I hadn't changed the design at all since Randall set it up for me. After five years, I figured it was about time. What do you think of the new design? Hopefully it doesn't shock you too much. It should be a lot easier to navigate than the old one.

Also, let me take this opportunity to thank everyone that has read it this year. I discovered recently that I'm approaching a milestone. Two thousand more hits (which should come before this weekend), and I'll officially have an even one million hits.

Not bad for a guy just sitting in his basement.

Fergie gets a stamp

Sure, it's a Canadian stamp, but Fergie is after all, a Canadian.
(Click on the link above to see the stamp)

He's wearing a Cubs hat. Pretty cool.

He's baaaaack

It's probably his last chance.

The Yankees signed Mark Prior to a minor league contract.

Larry Rothschild is the Yankees pitching coach now. He's probably preparing towel drills for Prior as you read this.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jackson 5

On this day in 1969, the Jackson 5 made their first Ed Sullivan Show appearance...

As a tribute to the anniversary, I'm wearing the same outfit Michael wore in this video.

The Phillies Rotation

Their starting rotation now consists of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and since yesterday, Cliff Lee.

That's one of the best rotations of my lifetime (barring injury). Every single one of them is better than any pitcher on the Cubs or the White Sox.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fergie is 68

Today is Ferguson Jenkins' 68th birthday. I just looked up his stats for '68. He was a 20 game winner for the second year in a row.

Happy birthday good ol' #31

Hollywood Squares

Truly loved this show when it first aired with Peter Marshall as  host. Here are a few reasons why...

The cup is half full

How can you look at the cup as half full after that Bears game yesterday?

The Bears won the second half 7-3.

That's the best I can do.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Father Knows Nothing

I just posted my latest Father Knows Nothing column. It's called "An Unexpected Question," and it's about a question I hadn't heard in many years.

You can read it here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bye Bye Ron

We miss you already.

The 1960 World Series

This is pretty fascinating news from the MLB network this morning...

Once thought to be lost forever, the complete original television broadcast of the 1960 World Series Game 7 – regarded by many as the greatest baseball game ever played - will be telecast on MLB Network on December 15 at 8:00 p.m. ET, the first time it will be seen on television since it was originally played more than 50 years ago. The black-and-white kinescope of the game film was discovered earlier this year at the home of the late Bing Crosby, who was a part owner of the Pirates at the time.

I wish my cable provider offered the MLB network. I'd love to see that game.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

2010's first Christmas Joke

Contributed by "MS"...

Three good ole boys died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.

'In honor of this holy season' Saint Peter said, 'You must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven.'

The cowboy from Texas fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on. 'It represents a candle', he said.

'You may pass through the pearly gates' Saint Peter said.

The logger from Minnesota reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, 'They're bells.'

Saint Peter said 'You may pass through the pearly gates'.

The old Kentucky farmer started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties.

St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, 'And just what do those symbolize?'

The old Kentucky farmer replied, 'These are Carols.'

And So The Christmas Season Begins......

Reviews for $everance

I put the wraps on the third draft of novel #2 today (It will be called "The Living Wills"), so I did a quick check to see if anything else had been written about novel #1 lately ("$everance").

I was blown away by these reviews on "Good Reads," and not just because they are so positive, but because I don't even know these people. I want to thank every one of them...

Here are a few...

Robert rated it 5 stars, and said...
"The rare political novel that can walk the thin line between conservative and liberal partisans, enlighten both, and dissatisfy neither. Set against a backdrop of corporate downsizing and media-industry conglomeration, Kaempfer shines a bright light on the hidden snares and pitfalls of an unregulated fourth estate."

Afoue rated it 5 stars, and said...
"An excellent book about a man who wants nothing more than to be fired. Severance gives an inside look at the inner workings of the media, something I'd never considered before. It somehow manages to maintain bipartisanship without offending one side (conservatives vs. liberals) more than the other. Deepak has to be my favorite character; he's hilarious. A very entertaining read, I recommend this to everyone."

Sarah Gorr rated it 4 stars, and said...
"As a public over-saturated with exposure to the media and information being beamed to us from all directions, Rick Kaempfer’s latest book, $everence, provides a hilariously entertaining inside look at the world of politics, persona and media consolidation. Kaempfer doesn’t just ask the question, “What happens when it all goes too far?” but suggests the outcome and it is not pretty. One of $everance’s greatest advantages in delivering its message is its use of humor and avoidance of dry political and corporate jargon. While an inside term or two might pop-up, Kaempfer’s book doesn’t seem to be preaching to the choir; it’s an open invitation for even those with little or no knowledge of the media’s inner workings or its political wheelings and dealings to join the conversation. Whether you’re news junkie, undecided, uninformed or just plain apathetic, $everence is a clever and enjoyable read for anyone exposed to the media; and that’s everyone."

Tisbutehname rated it 4 stars, and said...
"Severance: an indictment of spurious journalism? Check! Severance: a Laodicean account of the annoying nature of political zealots? Check! Severance: a hilarious satire about the trials and tribulations that accompany…trying to get fired? Check!  By staying objective, Severance does not crumble under the weight of its observations on the degradation of journalism into a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ profession. It does not, like so many of its characters, become hypocritical or biased; on the other hand, it remains satisfyingly ambivalent, and genuine all the way to its final sentence. As good satire can, Severance will make you laugh, but just as quickly it can scare the pants off of you. Though some of the characters are absurd, the novel is not. Severance is an accurate appraisal of the ongoing mutations happening to a very crucial industry, and a highly recommended read." 

Brittany rated it 5 stars, and said...
"Richard Kaempfer’s $everance is a hilarious book that will make readers laugh, nod their heads in agreement and, especially in today’s climate, watch the news with even more skepticism. All Tom Zagorski wants is for his boss, Sherman Rose, to fire him so he can collect his severance check. He creates as much mayhem as he possibly can with the surprising result of landing him a job as COO for Sierra Megamedia Corporation, the company who owns his small Chicago radio station. With a brilliant mix of satire and truth, Kaempfer explores the world of media that most of us can only hypothesize about. Having worked in the business at a Chicago radio station, his account comes across as though he’s saying, “I couldn’t make this up if I tried.”

KC gave it 4 stars, and said...
"Richard Kaempfer's $everance is a deliciously fun read. Memorable characters with hilarious quirks lead you on a bizarre ride from small-scale media corruption to all-out corporate conglomeration. Rich characters infuse each chapter with absurdly entertaining vignettes. The novel's roller-coaster ride of shenanigans seems beyond fictional except for protagonist Tom Zagorski's unwavering moral compass. It points northeast. More importantly, it adds credibility to his continuously thwarted goal of getting fired and securing his severance check.  Kaempfer has crafted a satire that is interesting without being overbearing. His personal experience in radio strengthens the novel and the author's note reinforces the darker themes rendered ludicrous in fiction. This is a great jab at the painfully one-sided soapboxes masquerading as news providers as well as the often overlooked monopoly of mainstream media. Recommended for the socially conscious and/or anyone with a sense of humor."

Jeepers, everyone. Thanks so much.

It's still available, by the way. It's only $15 at ENC Press (retail is $19), and only $5 for the e-book.

Charlie Brown Christmas Special

45 years ago today, the Charlie Brown Christmas special aired for the very first time on CBS. I've been stealing these dance moves ever since...

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Cubs sign Carlos Pena

The details are here, but this is all you need to know. It's a one-year $10 million deal for a guy that hit .196 last year.

That is so Cubs.

Q&A with Mike Quade

Bruce Levine talks with Cubs manager Mike Quade. I find myself liking this guy.

 By the way, how many times can you print a Q&A with someone that actually has a Q and an A in their name?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Crosby Stills and Nash

On this day in 1967, Graham Nash announced the formation of a new band, Crosby, Stills & Nash. A year and a half later they performed together at Woodstock...

Pearl Harbor Day

A day that will live in infamy...December 7, 1941

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Windy City

I'm not sure what city this is, but it's not a good city to live in if you're a duck...

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Father Knows Nothing

I just posted my latest Father Knows Nothing column at NWI Parent Magazine. This one is called "The Great Glasses Caper" and it's about the whereabouts of my son Johnny's glasses.

You can read it here.

Friday, December 03, 2010

RIP Ron Santo

 Sad, sad news. Ron Santo passed away at the age of 70. Full details are here.

He never got to see the Cubs win the World Series. He never made it into the Hall of Fame. And there haven't been many people in the world that more desperately wanted both. That's the first thing I thought of when I heard he died this morning. I'm sure most Cub fans thought the same thing. That, and it's not going to be the same listening to the Cubs on the radio without him.

I met Ron once about ten years ago and he was very nice to me, but I don't claim to know him at all. I did, however, talk to a few people the past few years that were among his closest friends.


One of them was his broadcast partner Pat Hughes.

We discussed Ron...

Rick: Your chemistry with Ron Santo is really amazing—it’s like yin and yang. He is pure emotion—and you are the voice of reason. I’m sure that’s part of the secret to your chemistry, but there’s obviously more to it than that. It seems like you also have real affection for each other. Would that be fair to say?

Pat: Yes it would. We have amazing harmony, very few bad vibes. Forget baseball, he’s just an extraordinary human being. I’ve never met anyone like him. Beyond baseball, he’s an icon for diabetics everywhere. What he’s been through! What he’s accomplished! Ron’s an inspiration.

Rick: Have the two of you ever had a fight?

Pat: (laughs) Hell no. Anytime you work together as long as we have, you have a few minor little disagreements, but nothing bad. Never.

Rick: I used to love when you did the attendance game with him and you beat him every day. Even for something like that—his emotions were on his sleeve—he would get so upset. I know that’s what Cub fans love about him. As much as it hurts us to lose, we can hear in his voice that it hurts him even more. Do you ever worry that the strain of that is having a detrimental effect on his health?

Pat: I used to, but not anymore. The man is 70 years old. He’s had diabetes, and cancer. He’s lost his bladder and his legs. He’s gone through everything you can imagine. Why would you worry anymore? He’s like a superman, a man of steel. Plus, I think it’s better for him to get it out of his system, than to let it build up inside him.


Todd Manley was the WGN production director for years, and he beautifully captured the spirit of the Pat & Ron broadcasts in his promos...
PAT AND RON PROMO--The Marrying Type
PAT & RON PROMO--I Dream of Jeannie


I also interviewed Andy Masur, his former colleague at WGN, now the play by play man of the San Diego Padres...

Rick: The years you were at WGN were a roller coaster ride for Ron Santo; from the lows of his health problems and the Hall of Fame snubs, to the highs of the day his number was retired, and the Cubs 2003 playoff run. Was that time an emotional time for the rest of you in the booth too?

Andy: First off, I must say, that Ron Santo is one of my heroes. Not for his play on the field, but for his work and passion off the field. He was a great player, no doubt, but he’s an even better person. Ron is one of the toughest human beings I have ever met. With all the physical problems he’s encountered over the past 8 or so years, I never once heard the man utter the words “why me?” Never. That’s a quality few people have. I think about Ron every day.

As far as 2003 goes, I’m just now finding that I’m able to talk about the year and how it started and finished. Ron’s Hall of Fame snub in February of that year was devastating to all of us in the booth. He really felt that it was his year. It didn’t happen. The Cubs played remarkable baseball that season, and I’ll never forget after they clinched the division with the double header sweep of the Pirates, how many of the players I interviewed in the clubhouse, were saying “this is for Ron”.

I remember the next day, when Ron’s number was retired, looking at the sign on the fence behind the bleachers in left field “Ron Santo a perfect 10” and thinking, this has to make him feel 100 feet tall. It did. An honor well deserved.

The shame of it all though, was Ron didn’t get to enjoy the playoffs in the booth. Another health scare kept him out, and all of us in the booth, from Pat to Matt Boltz, were devastated that Ron wouldn’t be with us. I’ll never forget Pat’s call at the end of the Braves series, “Ron Santo this one’s for you!”, I still seriously get choked up just thinking about it.

So to answer your original question, yes, it was a great year, but a very emotional year for all of us.


A few years ago the Associated Press did a story about Ron, and they interviewed me as part of the piece, to get a fan's perspective. Here's a portion of that article...

People around Santo have gone to him and suggested he "detach himself a little bit," said Bob Brenly, a former broadcast partner who is now an analyst for the team's television broadcasts. "But it's not in him," he said.

Even fans have taken notice.

"When he's not on the broadcast I'm actually worried about his health," said Rick Kaempfer, a lifelong fan who has a website ( devoted to the Cubs.

Santo also has something that fans like Kaempfer value above everything else. Hope. No matter what happens, no matter how many years and how many ways the Cubs fail, Santo does not give up hope.

"I heard him talking about how the Rockies won 21 in a row a few years ago (at one stretch they won 21 of 22 games), hanging his hat on that, saying it could be us," Kaempfer said.

It is Santo's devotion to his team and his optimism that he will see the Cubs win a World Series title that helps explain the attachment that fans like Kaempfer have to Santo.

"It unifies Cub Fans," Kaempfer said.


What kind of a man was he to Cub fans? This story about meeting Ron in the summer of 1963 captures it about as well as any story I've ever heard...


As for me, I remember watching this game from the summer of 1970. The game he hit three home runs. Lou Boudreau and Vince Lloyd had the call.

That's the way I'm going to remember him.

Rest in Peace, Ron Santo. Cub nation already misses you. To be honest, I'm getting a little choked up just thinking about it.

Joke for a Friday Morning

 Contributed by "MM"...

Texas Bank Robbery

A hooded robber burst into a Texas bank and forced the tellers to load a sack full of cash. On his way out the door, a brave Texas customer grabbed the hood and pulled it off revealing the robber's face. The robber shot the customer without a moment's hesitation.

He then looked around the bank and noticed one of the tellers looking straight at him. The robber instantly shot him also. Everyone else, by now very scared, looked intently down at the floor in silence.

The robber yelled, 'Well, did anyone else see my face?' There are a few moments of utter silence in which everyone was plainly afraid to speak.

Then, one old cowboy tentatively raised his hand, and while keeping his head down said, 'My wife got a pretty good look at you.'

Thursday, December 02, 2010

"You're So Vain"

It was released on this day in 1972. Who is this song about? Carly Simon has told only one person (who paid $50,000 for the right to find out). I can't listen to it without thinking of Warren Beatty. That's my guess.

I bought the 45 when it came out. Granted, I was 9 at the time, but I still like it. It's on my iPod.

Joke for a Tuesday morning

Contributed by "MS"...

A Little Christmas Story

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure. Then Mrs. Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where. Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor.. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and an irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?'

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

Not a lot of people know this.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hi Hi Hi

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac this morning...

"December 1, 1972…Wings released "Hi, Hi, Hi." The BBC banned the song for its supposedly suggestive lyrics and because of their assumption that the title phrase, "We're gonna get hi, hi, hi," was a drug reference. The sexual line the Beeb objected to is the one they heard as "get you ready for my body gun." McCartney has said the correct lyrics are "get you ready for my polygon," an abstract image."

As for the word "polygon," give me a break, Paul. Listen to it in context. There's no way that is supposed to be an abstract image. Of course, all these years later, it seems pretty tame anyway. It would never be banned today. Here's the song...

Remember Felix Pie?

The Cubs one-time hope for the future, and the Orioles current average outfielder, went completely nuts during a winter league game. You don't need to understand Spanish to figure out what's happening here...

Baseball News

The Rockies signed Troy Tulowitzki through 2020 (!)

The Cardinals acquired Ryan Theriot.

The Dodgers signed Juan Uribe, and the Giants signed Miguel Tejada.

And the Cubs? (crickets)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

America's (Bunny's) Most Wanted

This is a photo of our little puppy Ivy. Looks like a mild mannered thing, doesn't she?

And, for the most part, she is. But she also has Forest Gump-like speed and a pretty powerful jaw. When you watch Bunny-TV tonight, and the Bunny news anchors start talking about a killer puppy murdering little bunnies in suburban backyards, don't be surprised if they use this photo.

Victim #2 was buried this week.

The only reason squirrels get away is because they can go up.

Brian's Song

The movie that can make grown men cry debuted on ABC-TV on this day in 1971...Grab a hankie.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Beatles on iTunes

Still think that everyone that wants Beatles music already has it? Look at these sales figures...

In their first week online, the Beatles racked up worldwide sales of more than 450,000 albums and 2 million individual tracks, according to Billboard.  Apple says that the best-selling album was Abbey Road, with "Here Comes the Sun" ranked as the No. 1 individual-selling song. 

To me that's still the most interesting part of this; to see which individual song sells the best. Isn't it funny that George is outselling John and Paul? Too bad George isn't around to see it.

Minnie Minoso

The former White Sox star is 85 years old today.

I've met Minnie many times over the years. We had him on the John Landecker show nearly every year, and used him the same way every time.

If you want to know what he did, you can read about it here.

Brandon Webb

According to this, the Cubs are looking at signing Brandon Webb.

On the positive side: he won the Cy Young once and finished second in the voting twice.

On the negative side: he hasn't pitched in the majors the last two full seasons because of arm surgery.

Sounds like a Cub.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Father Knows Nothing

I just posted my latest Father Knows Nothing column. This one is called "The 12 days of Teen Christmas," and yes, it includes new lyrics to the classic (?) Christmas song.

My teen son Tommy hates it, so I think I might be on to something.

You can read it here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Have a great Thanksgiving!

A parting thought from this year's dinner...

Supper Club

Kim Strickland is a fellow author ("Wish Club," Three Rivers Press, 2007), and blogger (A City Mom), but she's much more than that to me. She's been a good friend since college, and I don't need to tell you how many years ago that was.

I know what you're thinking as you look at her picture. You're thinking: "She's the same age as you, Rick?" No, actually she's not. She's significantly older (twelve days).

Her latest blog for Chicago Now is about our every other month gathering of college friends called "Supper Club."

You can read it here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

OK, this made me laugh

"BP" sent me the following e-mail in response to my item about the Medill School of Journalism changing their name...

"Shortly after renaming the school, the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications intramural softball team complained about the Library Sciences team running up the score on them."

Cubs programming note

From my e-mail box, this reminder from the MLB network...

"Chicago Cubs Joe Tinker and Johnny Evers will be featured in a new episode of MLB Network’s Prime 9: Double Play Combinations at 7:00 p.m. CT. The Tinker-Evers duo will be ranked alongside other combinations, including the Orioles’ Mark Belanger and Bobby Grich, the Indians’ Omar Vizquel and Roberto Alomar, and the Pirates’ Bill Mazeroski and Gene Alley."

Monday, November 22, 2010

John F. Kennedy

47 years ago today...

I was four months old.

Weird Cub Vibe

I know some people wondered if Larry Rothschild had nude photos of Jim Hendry, considering that he has survived through all of these managerial regimes, despite the pitching staff not exactly tearing it up. And because he had another year left on his contract, I don't know anybody that saw this coming.

Larry Rothschild left the Cubs to take a job with the Yankees.

I was at a party with friends last night (nearly all of whom are Cub fans), and this was a big topic of conversation. Doesn't it feel like something isn't quite right with the Cubs?

They bypassed their Hall of Famer to hire Mike Quade. They have made ZERO player moves. The payroll will be cut. Their pitching coach left the team. The owner is saying that he needs the state to bail him out. The Cubs convention is not sold out.

At the end of last year I went to three different games, and the left field bleachers were empty all three times.

Despite my initial excitement about this new ownership, I have a funny feeling we're heading toward another PK Wrigley era. And let me tell you youngsters, that was NOT a good era for the Cubs. (I know, I know--when were the good eras for the Cubs? But in a century of bad eras--the PK Wrigley era was the worst.)

Buckle up, Cub fans. I suspect we're in for a few really bad years.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Father Knows Nothing

My latest Father Knows Nothing column has been posted. This week's is all about Sean's commercial shoot for the U.S. Soccer Players Association.

You can read it here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chicago Radio Spotlight: Ed Tyll

I just posted my 200th interview at Chicago Radio Spotlight. This week I spoke with former Loop talk show host Ed Tyll. You may not like what he says, but he'll say it anyway, Ed Tyll.

You can read it here.

That's going to be my last Chicago Radio Spotlight interview for 2010. I'll have some more after the first of the year. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Quinn vs. Quade

I contributed to this little intellectual exercise at the Beachwood Reporter.

You can read it here.

Achtung Baby!

On this day in 1991, just three days after my wedding, U2 released one of their best albums: "Achtung Baby." This is my favorite song from that great album...

First basemen

 I've been following the rumors about who the Cubs are pursuing to fill that glaring hole at first base.

The two names that keep coming up are Carlos Pena and Chris Davis. Pena hit .196 last year. Davis hit .192.

I'm guessing Gonzalo Marquez is no longer available, but his stats match up pretty well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Never say "Unbreakable"

It doesn't matter what language you say it in, either...

Not a good off season for Harry Caray

First his statue is cracked.

Now his Wrigleyville restaurant closes.

It only lasted two years across the street from the ballpark. The old Hi-Tops will now be known as "Benchwarmers."

Harry Nilsson

One of the more under-appreciated figures in rock and roll is getting a documentary. The man who did the "US vs. John Lennon" documentary, and the "We Believe" Cubs documentary has turned his sights on Harry.

The film is called "Who is Harry Nilsson (and why is everybody talking about him)"

The title is a reference to his biggest hit, the theme song from the film "Midnight Cowboy," and a song that doesn't really get played anymore...

Harry died years ago. He literally drank himself to death.

Tear down Wrigley?

Message to Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune: No.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

E-mails, we get e-mails...

"RP," a Northwestern grad, takes issue with my portrayal of this weekend's Illini-Northwestern game...

"I can't wait, either. I'll have my "house divided" flag out in front of my house, as my wife went to Illinois. But the marquee SHOULD play favorites. Here's a little school on the North Shore, about one-fifth the size of the U of I, aggressively laying claim to being Chicago's Big Ten team. Illinois should have such good marketing. I know Illinois fans will be there (we had to give them SOME tickets) but it is a Northwestern home game. And by the way, the name is Dyche. Not Dyke."

Whoops. Sorry about the spelling. As for the 'little school on the North Shore,' puleeze. Northwestern could buy and sell Illinois. :)

Proud Papa

If you watch the USA-South Africa match on ESPN2 today, look for the commercial about the US National Men's Team. My son Sean is featured in the closing seconds of the spot, representing the "next generation".

You can watch it here too.