Friday, December 21, 2012

Going Off The Grid

I just wanted to say thanks again for reading my blogs this year. I had over a million hits for the second year in a row. I'm not sure exactly what I'm doing to bring in that many readers, but thanks.

Also, thanks for supporting my efforts at Eckhartz Press. We just completed our first year of publishing (five books!), and our humble little offerings have sold way beyond our expectations. In fact, we'll be interviewing book designers, editors, and e-formatters soon to expand our little company. If you perform any of those services, please contact me at

We're very excited about 2013. One of our existing books (knock on wood) is about to be picked up by a major national retailer. (Hopefully when I return in January, I'll have news to report.) And next year we've already comitted to three books; John Records Landecker's memoir "Records Truly is My Middle Name", a novel by Dan Burns, and another media memoir that I'm busy editing. My hope is that I'll have time to finish my next book by the end of the year too. Dave and I are also meeting with at least three prospective authors in January. More details in the coming months.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday season. I'm using the holiday season as an excuse to give myself a tiny little vacation from working/writing.

I already wrote Just One Bad Century's Cubs 365 entries for the rest of the year, and they will continue to post every day (I actually did it--365 different stories about the Cubs!)

I will accompany Eckhartz Press author David Stern to the WGN studios for his radio interview next Thursday December 27th at 9pm. I'll undoubtedly post on the Eckhartz Press blog about that.

I'll be posting 1971 in Green White history on the Green White history blog before the end of the year.

But other than that, I'm going off the grid.

I will resume writing here on January 3.

Father Knows Nothing will return on January 7.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Who's On First (The Sequel)

I gotta say...this was pretty good last night on Jimmy Fallon's show.

It's The End of the World As We Know It

This one is getting a lot play today because the Mayans apparently goofed on the end of the world. (I'm personally rethinking my spending spree over the past few days. I guess I will have to pay my credit card after all.)

Have you ever heard my impersonation of a drunk person in a bar singing along with this song? It goes like this..."blah blah blah...LEONARD BERNSTEIN!"

That joke absolutely killed in the 80s.

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Greg Sargent ‏@ThePlumLineGS
Plan B implosion confirms final deal will pass with Democratic, not conservative, support. In AM Roundup:

POLITICO ‏@politico
Dow dips after Plan B bungle, via @katie_glueck:

New York Daily News ‏@nydailynews
That's nasty: Quack doc used Krazy Glue to try and repair botched butt lift

Chet Coppock ‏@ChetCoppock
anxious to hear what the joyful clods from the #NRA have to serve up today. it'll be the usual charlton heston cliche ridden crap.

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
Joe Scarborough destroys conservative congressman during gun control discussion

neilk ‏@nklopfen
@daveweigel Idea: Trenches in every classroom.

Jimmy Greenfield ‏@jcgreenx
ESPN just sent me a text to ask me to join them in a moment of silence. Really? We're now advertising our moments of silence?

Mark Wilhelms ‏@Markwilhelms
21 Hilarious Tweets for the End of the World

Katie Couric ‏@katiecouric
Sing it with me: Let's get physical, physical! Olivia Newton-John on today's show!!

James Finn Garner ‏@jamesfinngarner
The main floor of Marshall Field's in 1941, decorated for the holidays:

Jake Tapper Leaves ABC

ABC's White House Correspondent Jake Tapper has resigned from ABC, and will be joining CNN.

The details are here.


I hadn't really heard of this concept until recently, but apparently there is a subset of Americans that call themselves "Preppers". They are preparing (prepping) for a complete collapse of the world's economy and are therefore stockpiling supplies like food, water, and of course, guns.

Guess who was a prepper? Nancy Lanza, the mother of the Sandy Hook shooter..

If you've been wondering (like I have) why a woman with an unstable son had a cache of weapons in the house, you have your answer.

Turi Ryder

After being named as the new WGN night-time host (replacing Milt Rosenberg on January 7th), Turi Ryder has added another job to her full plate.

She'll be a weekend host for America Weekend, a new service being put together by former WLS program director Kipper McGee.

1970 Christmas Message from WCFL

I saw this posted on the WCFL Facebook page (yes, there is one). It's from 1970 and voiced by the legendary disc jockey Art Roberts.

Listen to it here.

It's only 30 seconds long.

The 2013 Cubs Starting Rotation

I count seven starting pitchers on the Cubs roster heading into next season. Hopefully they can cobble together five that are good enough.

1. Matt Garza (age 29)
Career record 57-61, Last season 5-7, Best season 15-10 (2010)

2. Jeff Samardzija (age 27)
Career record 21-22, Last season 9-13, Best season (2012)

3. Travis Wood (age 25)
Career record 17-23, Last season 6-13, Best season 5-4 (2010)

4. Scott Baker (age 31)
Career record 63-48, Last season (injured), Best season 15-9 (2009)

5. Scott Feldman (age 29)
Career record 39-44, Last season 6-11, Best Season 17-8 (2009)

6. Carlos Villanueva (age 29)
Career record 33-35, Last season 6-6, Best Season 8-5 (2007)

and finally, just signed yesterday...

7. Edwin Jackson (age 29)
Career record 70-71, Last season 10-11, Best season 13-9 (2009)

It's obviously not exactly a World Series starting rotation (although three of them have pitched in the World Series--Garza, Jackson & Feldman), but it will be serviceable. They are all close to the peak of their careers age-wise, they have all experienced some success at the big league level, and they are all at least legitimate major league pitchers.

Although...Garza and Baker are coming off injuries, Feldman and Wood are coming off bad seasons, Villanueva and Samardzija are converted relievers, and Edwin Jackson is now on his eighth team.

Cubs 365, December 21

On this day in 1941, just two weeks after the Pearl Harbor attack, Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley scrapped his plans to install lights at Wrigley Field for the following season; donating the lights he had already purchased to the war effort instead. It would be another 47 years before lights were installed.

While Wrigley was dealing with the lights issue, the Chicago Bears were playing in the NFL Championship game in the ballpark. Only 13,341 braved the cold weather to see the defending champion Bears slug it out against the Giants at Wrigley Field.

The Bears won the game 37-9.

Two of the players who played in that 1941 championship game were eventually killed in action during World War II: Bears Quarterback Young Bussey and Jack Lummus of the Giants.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Region Notable?

I was quoted in this NWI Times piece: Treasured Ornaments:Region notables share their favorite holiday decorations

I remember giving this interview, but then forgot to check for the article. I only found out about it because a buddy sent it to me, mocking me for being referred to as a "Region Notable". When he's right, he's right. That is pretty funny.

I don't exactly measure up to the other people quoted in the piece: Second City & SNL alum Tim Kazurinsky, Indiana Senator-Elect Joe Donelly, Senator Dan Coats, Sculptor Fritz Olsen, Broadway actress Martha Cares, and Nelson Riddle's daughter.

But here's my part of the story...

"Rick Kaempfer, author, free-lance writer and blogger, couldn’t tell us about just one ornament. Before he and his wife, Bridget, were married in November 1991, their wedding guests teamed up to deck their halls.

“Because we were getting married so close to Christmas, someone suggested that everyone bring a Christmas ornament in addition to a traditional bridal gift,” he said.

The idea was, Kaempfer explains, that their first Christmas tree together "would be filled with personal memories, even though we had only been married for a month."

“I was touched by that 21 years ago, but I'm even more touched by it now," he said. "When we open our box of Christmas decorations every year, all of those ornaments are still in our collection. With each ornament we put on the tree, we're reminded of the family we're still so lucky to have with us, but we're also reminded of our precious departed grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and friends. Every Christmas season they are with us again, if only on our tree."

“Those aren't just decorations to us — they are memories. It's one of the reasons why the day we decorate the tree is among our most anticipated and cherished days of the year.”

As Catherine Johns mentioned to me on Facebook: "What a sentimental story, you region notable, you. I kept waiting for the wisecrack."

I'm sorry, Catherine. Sometimes my German heritage gets the best of me. We are known for our sentimentality and warmth, right?

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Try some delicious Mexican hot chocolate. Because the world is not going to end tomorrow.  via @louisachu

Fareed Zakaria @FareedZakaria
The number firearms homicides in U.S. was about 11,000 last year. England and Wales have about 50 gun homicides a year:

Rheana Murray ‏@RheanaMurray
Heartbreaking sign of the times: Bulletproof backpacks for kids. Sales spiked 500% since Friday , via @nydailynews

Bob Nightengale ‏@BNightengale
Another reason why Derek Jeter is sports' greatest role model. Calls mother of slain teacher #yankees

The Daily Beast ‏@thedailybeast
Boehner utters a 115-word statement on #fiscalcliff, market freaks out

Jim Antle ‏@jimantle
Wow. A McConnell poll has the Senate minority leader up by just four over Ashley Judd. …

Mark Czerniec ‏@MarkCzerniec
Obviously, the $1 ramen is better than the 29-cent ramen. But it's not three times better.

Chet Coppock ‏@ChetCoppock
Why is CBS not re-upping Walter Jacobsen? the guy is a journalistic treasure!

Don Anthony ‏@TheMouth1
OH MY: Opie and Anthony go at it with Piers Morgan on Twitter -

Ben Finfer ‏@BenFinfer
This is irony, right? RT @BuzzFeedAndrew: Sarah Palin calls Time Magazine irrelevant…. … …

The Living Wills in the Classroom

This is pretty funny to me. My novel "The Living Wills" is going to be part of a high school literature course this spring.

Details are here.

It's just funny to think that some high school kids out there are going to be groaning and saying something like "Uggh. Can't go out tonight. Gotta read some Kaempfer."

My work here is done.

Some More Love for The Balding Handbook

Pat Colander from SHORE Magazine writes the following on her blog today...

"And Perfect Last-Minute Gifts: For the man who has everything but hair, Eckhartz Press is featuring David Stern's The Balding Handbook: The 5 stages of grieving for your hair. As Publisher Rick Kaempfer says, the book will “bring you back into the light. Of course, you'll need sunscreen when you get there, but the few extra bucks you shell out to the Hawaiian Tropic people is a trifle when you consider the incredible life that awaits you after reading this book. Whether you are a fellow sufferer, or just a mean person that wants to give this book as a gag gift to that baldy you know (“Tee hee, Get it? You're bald!”), “The Balding Handbook is for you.”

Here are a few reviews on GoodReads...

"Stern's book takes the Five Stages of Grieving and applies to hair loss. As a fully actualized bald man, Stern offers advise and insights to his balding brothers. So funny. So funny. So funny. I received this book in the mail and read it the same day. My neighbors must think they are living next to a lunatic as I laughed loud and hard at every chapter."
--Brent Petersen (5 stars out of 5)

"I was given this book by my brother and had no intention of reading it. The next thing I knew I had read the entire book in a few hours. This really is a funny and smart read. Pleasantly surprised."
--Sly (5 stars out of 5)

"This book has given me the will to live. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
--Curly (5 stars out of 5)

Cubs 365, December 20

On this day in 1900, one of the greatest Cubs of all-time was born, Gabby Hartnett. His real name was Charles Leo Hartnett. No surprise where that nickname came from, he was known as someone who was "constantly talking" when he was catching.

Gabby is known as one of the all-time greats, probably the best catcher of the first half of the 20th century. He played in four World Series for the Cubs, as a backup catcher/pinch hitter in 1929, the starting catcher in '32 and '35 (he won the MVP that year), and in 1938, his "homer in the gloamin" won the pennant for the Cubs. He was also the manager of that team.

As a player he was beloved. As a manager, he was hated. He left the Cubs after 1940 and his last year was spent as a player/manager for the New York Giants. He is buried in All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, the same cemetery as Harry Caray.

Facts About Guns

I was just curious about this, considering the debate going on in this country right now, so I did some research. Just how many guns are there in this country?

*Between 40-50% of American households have a gun.

*More than 10 million guns are sold in America every year.

*There are 90 handguns (just handguns) for every 100 Americans.

*Around 30% of all the guns in the world are owned by Americans.

*15 of the 25 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States.

*The best estimate for total number of guns in America in 2010 was 290--300 million guns. The population is 314 million.

I don't know the answer to the problem of gun violence, but I think it's pretty obvious that the answer is not "more guns" (which I've actually heard some people say). This has been studied, by the way: Turns out that More guns = More homicides.

Just sayin.

Pandora May Soon Be Rated

As in rated by the ratings services. So says the trade publication Radio Ink this morning...

"At some point, advertisers will be able to see Arbitron ratings for radio and Pandora side-by-side. That's according to Nielsen's President of Global Media Products Steve Hasker (pictured). Hasker told Bloomberg, "We want to cover as much of the media landscape as possible and be helpful to our clients in that way." Up until now there has never been any indication that Pandora is an Arbitron client. It sounds like that will change when Nielsen takes over."

That could be very interesting. I think radio would welcome the chance to show that if you measure Pandora and radio apples to apples, radio is still beating Pandora handily. I hope they are right about that.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Righting a Wrong, Balding Handbook-style

Help Eckhartz Press author David Stern ("The Balding Handbook") right a 200-year wrong. Please sign his official White House petition to rename the "Bald" eagle, the "Follicly-Challenged" eagle. It's the right thing to do.

You can sign it here.

He needs 25,000 signatures in a month, so please pass the word. We've got about 24,998 signatures to go.

The Balding Handbook is #1

On Amazon's list of Hot New Releases/Parodies, lookee here...

The Balding Handbook is #1!

Apollo 17

40 years ago today the final lunar landing mission, Apollo 17, splashed down in the Pacific...


If you've been on social media the past couple of days the big story has been the news that Instagram was planning on selling the photos you post there. Instagram was deluged with hate mail, the twittersphere exploded.

Now they claim it was all a misunderstanding. From today's "The Wrap"...

"It was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation," CEO Kevin Systrom said in a blog post on Tuesday. "This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: It is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear."

Instead, Systrom said the company planned to integrate promoted posts in users' newsfeeds, similarly to Facebook and Twitter.

"Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos," Systrom wrote. "Nothing about this has changed."

Another Media Giant

Nielson is purchasing Arbitron.

Nielson already had a monopoly on television ratings. Arbitron had a monopoly on radio ratings.

Now it's just one big behemoth. And that behemoth has a scary amount of access to data about everyone who uses the media.

Cubs 365, December 19

On this day in 1935, future Cubs second baseman Tony Taylor was born in Cuba. Tony was the starting second baseman for the Cubs in 1958 and 1959 but was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1960 for Don Cardwell. The Cubs were clearing out a spot for their brand new acquisition, Don Zimmer.

When the Cubs got Zimmer from the Dodgers (for Ron Perranoski), they originally thought Zimmer would play 3B. But Ron Santo emerged, so they moved Zimmer to second base instead.

How did these trades work out for the Cubs? Perranoski ended up becoming one of the premier relief pitchers in baseball for the next decade. He pitched in two league championship series, and three World Series, winning two rings with the 1963 and 1965 Dodgers. He also led the league in saves twice, and saved a total 179 games between 1961 and 1971.

Tony Taylor, who was only 24 years old at the time of the trade, played another sixteen years in the majors with the Phillies and the Tigers. When he retired after the 1976 season he was the oldest player in baseball (40 years old). Don Zimmer was the manager of the Boston Red Sox at the time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Mary Dixon ‏@MaryLDixon
Note to Doomsday watchers: Mayan calendar ends this Friday, 12/21 at 5:11a Chicago time. Winter solstice begins same day at 5:12a. We hope.


Drought could lead the #Chicago River to reverse course (again) and flow into Lake Michigan:

HowardKurtz ‏@HowardKurtz
Watch: Richard Engel and his NBC crew describe 5-day kidnapping ordeal in Syria, and escape, after mock executions

Anna Davlantes ‏@AnnaDavlantes
Sesame Street show goes viral 30 years later parents using it to teach kids about death. Watch it & you'll see why.

New York Daily News ‏@nydailynews
CHANGE OF HEART: Conservative Joe Scarborough STUNS with passionate call for gun control on his MSNBC show

Rob Hart ‏@RobHart1980
From the Rob Report: The outpouring of tributes to Milt Rosenberg is a testament to the power of local radio:

bill adee ‏@Bill80
Nielsen to buy Arbitron for about $1.26B,0,2404867.story …

Robin Baumgarten ‏@WGNRobin
"Howdy, Guv-nor!" Is there such a thing as a cockney cowboy accent? Nailed it!

Dave Wischnowsky ‏@wischlist
It's truly incredible how often this girl on the Red Line is using the word "like" while talking to her friend. Like, really.

Gangnam Chicago Style

The Beachwood Reporter has accumulated the many different Chicago-based parodies of Gangnam Style.

Some are better than others.

Thanks so much to the Beachwood people for enduring them all for us.

Here we go again

The following headline at TV Guide caught my eye. See if it reminds you any headlines from previous years: "Will Jimmy Fallon Inherit The Tonight Show in 2014?"

Jay Leno has got to be saying..."Hello! I'm still alive here!"

The Bill Clinton Story

Coming to HBO, a documentary about former president Bill Clinton, directed by Martin Scorcese.

Count me in.

Full details are here.

Scenes From The Balding Handbook's Book Release Party

Author David Stern was among his people all night. As you can see, they covered a full range of emotions...

The Balding Handbook on the Radio

Tune in Thursday night December 27th at 9pm to Sports Night on WGN Radio (AM 720), hosted by Brian Noonan and Dave Kaplan. They'll be talking to the author of "The Balding Handbook", David Stern.

Dave has prepared a list of some of his favorite athletes. See if you can guess what they all have in common.

Turi Ryder & Milt Rosenberg

I've met Turi Ryder a few times over the years. She is a friend of John Landecker's from back in their WLS days, and a contributor to the upcoming Eckhartz Press book "Records Truly is My Middle Name". She's also now back on the radio in Chicago. She'll be taking the place of the legendary Milt Rosenberg.

Robert Feder has the details on the new WGN lineup.

Milt's last show is this coming Thursday night. I never got the chance to interview him, but he did briefly agree to be interviewed once for Chicago Radio Spotlight. At the last moment he backed out because he realized he was violating his own rule about granting interviews.

Milt, by the way, also has a connection to the upcoming Landecker book. He was once a student of John's father, an esteemed sociology professor at the University of Michigan, and spoke very highly of him.

Journalism Can Be Dangerous

People forget just how much reporters are risking covering the news in dangerous parts of the world. The one guy I always think of is Richard Engel, reporter for NBC News. He speaks Arabic so he can move through the population a little easier than most, but even he was nabbed this week. This statement was released by NBC this morning...

“After being kidnapped and held for five days inside Syria by an unknown group, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and his production crew members have been freed unharmed. We are pleased to report they are safely out of the country.”

Cubs 365, December 18

On this day in 1943, future Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was born. What does that have to do with the Cubs? Well, check out this strange trifecta of stories from 1972.

Keith and the rest of the Rolling Stones were staying at the Playboy Mansion on State Street in Chicago and absolutely trashing the joint on June 17, 1972. Hugh Heffner was not amused. This memo is quoted in “Hef’s Little Black Book” (by Heffner & Bill Zehme)...

"For your information, the following is a list of damage that resulted from the visit of the Rolling Stones: The White rug in the Red and Blue Room bathroom was burnt and needed to be replaced; The toilet seat was also burnt and had to be replaced; Two bath mats and four towels were also burnt; Red Room chair and couch are stained, possibly to the point of needing reupholstering; Red Room bedspread is badly stained. We are hoping it will come out in cleaning..."

While Keith and his buddies were trashing the Playboy mansion, the Cubs were trashing the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. The newest Cub, Jose Cardenal, smacked a homer and the Cubs won the game 7-2.

And while the Rolling Stones were trashing the Playboy Mansion and the Cubs were trashing the Dodgers, Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel was also being trashed by some burglars.

In the long run that last story turned out to be a little more important the Keith Richards or Jose Cardenal stories from the same day.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Father Knows Nothing

This week's Father Knows Nothing column is called "Argument Scorecard."

You can read it here.

Bruce Wolf

Now that Don and Roma have informed WLS that they will not be returning to the morning show, the new morning hosts at WLS are officially Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft.

Bruce and I have worked together a few times over the years, and I really enjoyed working with him. I know he was going through some rough times over the past five years or so. (I interviewed him for Chicago Radio Spotlight about five years ago, before things went bad.)

I'm very happy for him that he is doing so well now. He deserves it.

Magical Mystery Tour

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

"December 17, 1967…In London, John Lennon and George Harrison threw a party for the secretaries of their official Fan Club, during which their "Magical Mystery Tour" film was screened for the first time."

PBS showed that movie this weekend in honor of it's anniversary, and I had forgotten how profoundly weird it was. You don't need drugs. Just watch this movie. It's a very good simulation of using.

The music, on the other hand is still incredibly good. This is probably my personal favorite...

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

NBC News ‏@NBCNews
Slain Sandy Hook principal's daughter tweets photo of her baby with Obama: "My mom would be SO proud"

Morning Joe ‏@Morning_Joe
This morning we began with @JoeNBC's powerful monologue on the Newtown shooting. Here is the video of his opening:

Frank Conniff ‏@FrankConniff
Those who say more guns make us safer base their belief on the solid statistical evidence of many, many action movies.

steve rosenbloom ‏@steverosenbloom
I fired Lovie Smith after last season. I fired him all last week. Question stands: Has Smith been canned yet? Is anyone home at Halas Hall?

Guardian World ‏@guardianworld
Australian woman injured while having sex on work trip wins right to compensation

Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN
Stephen Drew gets $500K in performance bonuses, to go along with $9.5 million salary, in his agreement with the Red Sox.

Jennifer Weiner ‏@jenniferweiner
Thrilled and honored that "The F Word" made @HuffPostWomen's year-end best-of list.

The Associated Press ‏@AP
Hospitalization of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela extends into a 10th day in South Africa:

Paul Konrad ‏@PaulKonrad
Today is the 288th day without measurable snow in Chicago. That breaks the record for the latest arrival for snow since 1965.

Richard Lewis ‏@TheRichardLewis
Damn. I finally fell asleep and instantly had a dream that I worked in an alarm clock plant.


We watched SNL and it sure sounded like Samuel Jackson uttered the "F" word. Of course, coming out of his mouth, it wasn't shocking at all. I checked the NBC site and they tried to mute the word, but I know what I heard. Ah, live TV. I suspect they may be fined for it.

But to me the bit of the night was this one featuring Paul McCartney and Martin Short. I enjoyed it very much...

The Connecticut Tragedy

The story of the shooting at the elementary school is almost too sad to comprehend. Of course the calls will go out for gun control, which I support--especially for automatic weapons. Nobody needs those to hunt or protect themselves.

But the bigger issue, the thing that may prevent even more tragedies, is a realization that our attention to mental health in this country is woeful at best. There are many good points made in this memorable piece. It's written by a mother of a mentally ill boy. It's a tough read, but it's worth it.

When you have mental illness AND ridiculously available guns...that's a recipe for the sort of thing we just experienced. What do you think the odds are that either issue will be adequetly addressed?

Cubs 365, December 17

On this day in 1859, future Chicago pitcher Wild Bill Hutchinson was born. Wild Bill had his season to remember in 1892. He led the league in wins the previous 2 seasons as well, but in 1892, Hutchinson had the whole package. He started 70(!) games, completed 67 of those, and led the league in wins and strikeouts. During the three years of 1890-1892, he pitched nearly 1800 innings, far and away the highest total in the league.

Wild Bill passed away in 1926 at the age of 66.

Australian Jocks

The story about the nurse committing suicide after being punked by two Australian disc jockeys shocked the world a few weeks ago. Turns out this sort of thing wasn't exactly out of the ordinary for this station. According to Tom Taylor's column today...

"Austereo has pushed talent before – even suggesting a woman get pregnant to help the ratings. Not only did station management suggest the unnamed personality have a baby to boost the numbers, they suggested an optimum time for the birth – “between ratings survey five and six,” says The Australian. The paper says “the ratings-at-any-cost culture existed long before Mel Greig and Michael Christian made their call to Kate Middleton’s London hospital.” For instance – “penis enlargement surgeries are offered as giveaways, and ‘guess who?’ games involving women’s genitalia are brainstormed in staff meetings.” Former Austereo personality Amber Petty says she finally had enough, when management got her father to record a fake obituary for her and ran it during the news. Another former jock says there was an idea tossed around for a “celebrity sperm” competition."

Not exactly the brainstorming meetings we had at the Oldies station.

Some Blog Love for The Balding Handbook

This time it comes form the blog Bearman Cartoons.

You can read it here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Almost Comically Evil

Rupert Murdoch's HarperCollins is being accused of using endangered rainforest fiber to make children's books.

It sounds like I made that up, doesn't it? Nope. The story is here.

The Rolling Stones

You'll never guess who showed up and played with the Stones last night in Newark...former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor. It was his first time playing with them in the U.S. since 1981. This isn't the greatest quality video, but you can see and hear him...

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Duane Dudek ‏@TheDudekAbides
The man who invented bar codes dies at 91. …

Peter Gammons ‏@pgammo
If I were to bet today, MLB Final 4 ten months from now-Tampa, Detroit, Cincinnati, Washington

Police: Man Tries To Drown Wife In Dog Bowl After Fight Over Frozen Pizza...

DH ‏@PeggyKinnanes
Morning Blend: “Right now I’m having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I’ve forgotten this before.” ~ Steven Wright

Groovyhoovy ‏@Groovyhoovy
Larry Potash is out today to have his lazy sphincter looked at.

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone
Get an inside look at Johnny Cash's collaborations over the years in this exclusive video clip:

Jeff Dickerson ‏@ESPNChiBears
@BradBiggs reports #Bears QB Jay Cutler's knee injury is a sprained MCL. Cutler still expected to start Sunday vs. #Packers.

New York Daily News ‏@nydailynews
Hugh Grant has been BANNED-FOR-LIFE from the 'Daily Show'. Find out why:

Eric & Kathy ‏@EricandKathy
Studies Show: Women are attracted to men who flirt with other men. #MIXMindBender

Bob Nightengale ‏@BNightengale
The #Cubs ownership and Theo Epstein were in Miami yesterday and presented $77 million offer, but #Tigers jumped up and stole him back

The Most Hated Blogger in America

The Columbia Journalism Review names someone the "most hated blogger in America" today in this article about him. His name is Chris Chase.

I've never heard of him, but I don't trust him. Bloggers. Sheesh. Who do these people think they are?

Um...wait a second.

Saturday Night Fever

The movie was released thirty five years ago today...

Pork Chop Murder

When I was in college my roommates Steve and Dave came to blows about an onion roll. (I kid you not). It's a good thing we didn't have a gun in the house, or it could have ended like this story.

Two roommates got into a fight about a pork chop, and one of them is now dead.

There Was Only One Watergate

I got a big kick out of Al Kamen's column in this morning's Washington Post. Here's my favorite part...

Washington generally exists in a hyperbolic state, but even the most jaded ears had to prick up when Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) declared to the Washington Times that L’Affaire Benghazi is “10 times bigger” than the Watergate and Iran-contra scandals combined. So, let’s do the math. If Watergate ended in a president’s resignation, plus dozens of criminal convictions, and Iran-contra yielded 11 convictions, and Benghazi is 10 times that serious . . . wait a sec . . . the one . . . then it will result in at least 10 presidents resigning and hundreds of convictions.

Of course it's ridiculous to constantly call everything bigger than Watergate. It's just nice to finally see somebody pointing that out.

Cubs 365, December 14

On this day in 1949, future Cub Bill Buckner was born. In his first season with the Cubs in 1977, Bill Buckner hit a respectable .284, but is there any doubt that Buckner's mustache was the finest mustache in the entire National League that year?

Billy Buck went on to have a great Cubs career, capped off by a batting title in 1980. In his seven plus seasons with the Cubs, Buckner never hit less .280. When the Cubs traded him early in 1984, it was only because they had another player to take his place at first base...Leon Durham.

Durham and Buckner, of course, share a common fate. Both of their outstanding careers will always be remembered for one little ball that went through their legs at the worst possible time.

More about Don Wade

Yesterday he announced he and his wife Roma wouldn't be returning to WLS (see story below). Today there was a lot written about Don in the trades, but I found this part very interesting in Tom Taylor's column this morning. I had NO IDEA about this...

"Wade’s conversion from music jock to talkhost was not atypical for pros of his generation. His bio even says “Don is proud of being fired from more radio stations than he could count…because his opinions got him in trouble.” He worked in Philadelphia, Buffalo, Dallas, Denver, Seattle (and Tacoma) before hitting Chicago. The Beatles, whom he’d interviewed, liked him enough to give him a quick cameo in their movie “Help.”

WHAT? Doggone it. I interviewed Don for the upcoming John Records Landecker memoir, and he told me some great stuff about his days in Philly (they will be in the book), but he never mentioned the Beatles story. I have to go back now and watch the movie again. Any idea where Don's cameo was in the film?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Don & Roma won't be back at WLS

This sad news for Don & Roma fans was delivered by Robert Feder today via his column: Don & Roma won't be coming back to host mornings.

Don's health is the reason why. The incredibly tiring and physically taxing morning show hours are completely incompatible with his rehabilitation from brain cancer. The decision is understandable under the circumstances.

Here's to a full and healthy recovery away from the spotlight's glare.

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

New York Daily News ‏@nydailynews
PHOTOS: Bruce Springsteen, other legends help blow the roof off MSG in emotional #Sandy fundraiser concert

Slate ‏@Slate
The remaining members of "Nirvana" reunited last night. They were joined by Sir Paul McCartney--WATCH:

MancowMuller ‏@MancowMuller
Nirvana reunited at a benefit for Hurricane Sandy with Paul McCartney taking the place of Kurt. So, afterward, Courtney Love killed him.

Roger Catlin ‏@rcatlin
McCartney ends with "Live and Let Die"and brings Alicia Keys back for "Empire State of Mind." More fitting than "Let It Be" or "Hey Jude."

Paul McCartney ‏@PaulMcCartney Track of the Week is 'Here Today' from the album 'Tug Of War'. Let us know what you think... …

The Onion ‏@TheOnion
[In Focus] Area Man Hasn't Told Co-Workers About His Billy Joel Fanpage Yet

Jake Tapper ‏@jaketapper
Folks who drum their fingers on desks + counters like they're the second coming of Gene Krupa: I am telling Santa to put you down as naughty

ChiTribSports ‏@ChiTribSports
Report: Dempster close to signing with Red Sox

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
30 reasons women cheat, according to women

The Daily Caller ‏@DailyCaller
TheDC's @mattklewis: Conservative Members were purged because of ‘asshole factor,’ not voting record -

Media Ownership Rules

It turns out that I'm not the only one that notices when the F.C.C. talks about changing media ownership rules. From Inside Radio...

"FCC gets earful on its proposed ownership rules. The issue that brought all five FCC commissioners before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology yesterday wasn’t media ownership. But the thorny subject was a recurring theme during a hearing about the FCC’s new broadband spectrum law. Subcommittee members continually brought up the commission’s controversial media ownership rules, which would abolish the radio-TV and radio-newspaper cross-ownership limit."

Nobody wants this except the big media companies (who constantly ask the F.C.C. for this). Nobody.

Find the Typo

Read this and see if you can find the typo. I'll give you a hint, the sentence begins with "Davis is recovering from..."

Bee Venom Facials?

It's supposedly all the rage these days, ever since Kate Middleton had one right before her wedding.

From the NWI Times article..."the venom is put into a cream that can slathered on the face up to twice a week, left on for twenty minutes, and then washed off. Users say the cream has a strong tingle when applied. The venom contains melittin, which is an anaphylactic responsible for the lingering pain caused by bee stings. Melittin also has anti-inflammatory abilities."

You know, as I get older, these things are sounding less and less crazy to me.


Did you see this in the Sandy Benefit last night? Nirvana with Paul McCartney. Pretty odd...

Hall & Oates in a bloody fight

It's not what you think.

Despite rumors, it wasn't started when one of them said: "I can't go for that."*

*Joke stolen from reader "BP"

Cubs 365, December 13

One of my childhood heroes turns 70 today. On this day in 1942, future Cubs Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins was born in Canada. His time with the Cubs is captured beautifully in this Canadian film...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Balding E-Handbook

It's been a handbook for several weeks now.

It's now also an e-handbook. The Balding Handbook is now available on the kindle format at amazon, and will soon be available on Apple, Sony, and Barnes & Noble (Nook).