Friday, January 18, 2013

Cubs Convention

Who will be appearing at the Cubs Convention this weekend? It's a long list...

Current Players
Scott Baker
Darwin Barney
Michael Bowden
Shawn Camp
Tony Campana
Welington Castillo
Starlin Castro
Steve Clevenger
David DeJesus
Scott Feldman
Matt Garza
Brett Jackson
Edwin Jackson
Carlos Marmol
Dioner Navarro
Brooks Raley
Anthony Rizzo
Chris Rusin
James Russell
Jeff Samardzija
Dave Sappelt
Nate Schierholtz
Alfonso Soriano
Ian Stewart
Josh Vitters
Travis Wood

Minor League Players
Javier Baez
Dallas Beeler
Jae-Hoon Ha
Marcus Hatley
Barret Loux
Trey McNutt
Hector Rondon
Zac Rosscup
Nick Struck
Matt Szczur
Logan Watkins
Robert Whitenack
Tony Zych

Team Executives
Tom Ricketts
Laura Ricketts
Pete Ricketts
Todd Ricketts
Theo Epstein
Crane Kenney

Baseball Staff/Broadcasters
Jed Hoyer
Jason McLeod
Randy Bush
Shiraz Rehman
Joe Bohringer
Brandon Hyde
Dale Sveum
Dave McKay
Lester Strode
Rob Deer
Chris Bosio
Jamie Quirk
David Bell
James Rowson
Pat Hughes
Len Kasper
Jim Deshaies
Judd Sirott

Former Players
Ernie Banks
Glenn Beckert
Jose Cardenal
Jody Davis
Bob Dernier
Jeff Fassero
Randy Hundley
Fergie Jenkins
Jay Johnstone
Jon Lieber
Gary Matthews
Keith Moreland
Dave Otto
Milt Pappas
Scott Sanderson
Lee Smith
Tim Stoddard
Rick Sutcliffe
Steve Trout
Todd Walker
Kerry Wood
Billy Williams

Downsizing Remote Buttons

Here's a sentence I've never written before: Bravo Comcast!

Their new remote now features far fewer buttons than the previous one.

It's still not enough to get me to return to Comcast, but it's a step in the right direction.

Response Ad

Funny or Die does a nice response ad to the ridiculous NRA ad using Obama's children...

Karl Rove

Remember when Fox News temporarily kept Karl Rove off the air because he had been so unbelievably dreadfully wrong about everything he predicted during the 2012 election? They've apparently gotten over it. They just signed up for four more years of wrong.

Dick Morris' deal can't be far behind.

Lance Armstrong

In case you missed the video of his big confession on Oprah's show, you can see part of it here. He admits quite a bit, including being a general overall jerk to everyone, and suing so many people he can't even remember all of them. And of course, being guilty of everything everyone always suspected he was guilty of doing.

Time Roughs Up Presidents

The Washington Post has an article about how the job of president has aged the people who hold that office. You can see that it's already aged Obama, and he still has four more years to go.

Heart of the Country

From Reuters...

Former Beatle Paul McCartney has recorded a new version of his 1971 song "Heart Of The Country," and directed fans to YouTube where the song accompanies an animated clip featuring his late wife Linda.

Sumner Redstone

The Sumner Redstone "just in case there is an afterlife" tour continues. He has just donated $10 million to the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Of course, he insisted they name the new building after him, but he's getting there.

For those who think I'm being a little harsh on Sumner, read his autobiography. Seriously. The man in his own words, published by his own publishing company, with no filter.

I'm not being too harsh on him.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cara Jepsen

The media writer for the Illinios Entertainer, Cara Jepsen, is stepping down after writing about the local media scene for the past twenty years. Robert Feder has a nice piece about her today. In the piece he mentions me as a possible replacement for her. Very interesting.

The Pope's Hot Secretary

This sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn't it? According to the Italian press, and today's Daily Mail, lthe Pope does indeed have a hot private secretary.

He's a guy, of course. He looks like George Clooney.

Chelsea Handler

Is Chelsea Handler in trouble for making Matt Lauer and Al Roker jokes? (E! and NBC are both owned by Comcast). If you believe the New York Post, she is.

As someone who once got called on the carpet by his corporate bosses for making fun of Survivor (True story--got a call from CBS in New York), I'm guessing that the New York Post may be onto something here. (Even a broken clock is correct twice a day)

Comcast seems to be verrrrrry sensitive about that whole Matt Lauer/Ann Curry story, which also leads me to believe that it's true. I have no proof, of course, it's just an educated guess.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Ben White ‏@morningmoneyben
Who among us hasn't had a fake Internet girlfriend die forcing our athletic director into a bizarre prime time news conference? #glasshouses

Michael Tomasky ‏@mtomasky
Thousands of decent young men play college football, get their degrees, live good lives, don't invent fake girlfriends or beat up real ones.

Rob Hart ‏@RobHart1980
There was never a Manti Te'o. His real name is Warren and he lives in Bensenville.

Brian LaPorte ‏@blaporte79
Notre Dame - killing student photographers, covering up rapes, and creating fake girlfriends since 1842 @mullyhanley

Jan Weber ‏@GermanBearsFan
@mullyhanley With the Teo story, Bears PR department could be afraid no journalists will show up today, cause they all went to South Bend.

Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN
The only story as crazy as this Te'o story I can remember was the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding saga--each detail stranger than one before it

DL Hughley ‏@RealDlHughley
the very ppl who insisted on changing the voter ID laws tho there were very few cases of fraud don't feel the same about background checks?

Michael Cooper ‏@coopnytimes
As Obama calls for background checks of all gun buyers, a new NYT/CBS poll find 9 in 10 gun owners favor it:

Scary Mommy ‏@ScaryMommy
Three Year Olds Are The Same as Asshole Bosses. They really, really are! from @BPMbadassmama

Jim Gaffigan ‏@JimGaffigan
I’m not fat, I have a child bearing stomach.

Jon Stewart versus the NRA

A very thorough takedown of the pro-gun lobby...

The World Baseball Classic

I enjoyed watching the World Baseball Classic last time around (I believe it was 2009). It was fun watching professional baseball players representing their countries, although there were always some strange exceptions made. For instance, I seem to recall that Mike Piazza once represented Italy.

Anthony Rizzo is doing the same thing this year, even though his family has been in this country for three generations. (His great grandfather came from Sicily.) To be fair, that was after the Cubs last won the World Series.

The WBC will be in March.

The Bad Boy Radio Trial

Here's the latest news about the Todd Schnitt-Bubba the Love Sponge defamation trial in Tampa via Tom Taylor's NOW newsletter...

Yesterday’s action began with defendant Bubba the Love Sponge Clem as the first witness, called by plaintiff Todd Schnitt. Schnitt’s attorney went right to the audiotape. The first clip, says WTSP, features Bubba calling Schnitt’s wife, then a lawyer in the state attorney’s office, a “whore.” The TV station observes that Bubba “is clearly more comfortable in his own studios where he gets to call the shots, than having to take the stand in court, where he was peppered with questions and accusations.” Todd Schnitt and his wife filed suit in 2008, when Todd was “MJ” on the WFLZ (93.3) morning show and Bubba had recently returned from broadcast exile to do wakeups at Cox-owned WHPT (102.5). Bubba’s attorney outlined what’s likely to be a theme of the defense – that far from having his reputation harmed, Schnitt’s ratings rose, and that he’d called Bubba’s act “a clown show,” suggesting it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

It's airing on television and streaming on the radio in Tampa.

What is the line for the NRA?

Pure genius from The Onion.

NRA Fights Legislation That Would Ban Gun Sales To Those Currently On Killing Sprees


Manti Te'o is in trouble. Granted, Deadspin is the website that fell for JOBC's Waitle Nex Yeare birth announcement and reported it as a real story when we placed that ad a few years ago, but I think they might be right about this fake dead girlfriend story.

It looks pretty bad.

This could get very embarrassing for him--life-ruining embarrassing. It will be hard to watch. I hope his version of the story (which is bad enough) is true. If it isn't, oh boy.

The Motor City Pig Vomit

Remember Kevin Metheney? He was nicknamed Pig Vomit by Howard Stern when they worked together at WNBC in New York in the 1980s. (He was played by Paul Giamatti in the Howard Stern movie "Private Parts") He was brought to Chicago to "fix" WGN during the unfortunate Randy Michaels era, and was reviled by the staff here for his abrasive style. (WGN still hasn't quite recovered)

Yesterday Kevin Metheney was hired to program WJR in Detroit.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Deadly Double-Ds

Here's the headline: Woman Accused Of Using Her Breasts To Smother And Kill Boyfriend

I will keep you abreast of the investigation, that's what bosom buddies do, but I simply refuse to milk this story for laughs. If mammory serves, dark-comedy knockers and I make a perfect pair during a tragedy like this, because we know that tragedy plus time equals comedy, and that's true all over the globes. In the meantime, we will absolutely refuse to open up the fun bags.

You can hold me to that.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Miles Kahn ‏@mileskahn
I enjoy DL's rants almost as much as my own. Check out @RealDlHughley on guns here:

The New York Times ‏@nytimes
Read the White House Gun Proposal summary, fact sheet and list of executive actions

daveweigel ‏@daveweigel
Who will break it to Twitter that removing a POTUS from office requires 67 Senate votes? :(

Nicholas Kristof ‏@NickKristof
I'm one person who comes from Gun Country (rural Oregon) who strongly supports Obama gun measures.

"It's invasive to do background checks!" -- the guys who demanded 13 birth certificates from the president

Niala ‏@NialaBoodhoo
#Obama calls for universal background checks on gun purchases, to applause of audience.

Dan Bernstein ‏@dan_bernstein
Big day for Marc Trestman tomorrow. Here's what he should (and shouldn't) do at his unveiling. Column: #Bears

Gawker ‏@Gawker
Undergrad's shockingly honest internship cover letter lands him more job offers than he can accept

Roger Ebert ‏@ebertchicago
The humor—and searing honesty—of Smart Ass Cripple.

Eddie Volkman ‏@EddieVolkman
My wife hates that I can't order Girl Scout Cookies without yelling, "Samoans! Do The Humpty Dance!"

Help Wanted

Mel Karmazin is looking for a job.

Please help this poor man. He's worried he's going to get bored.

Don't you have people he can fire at your company until he gets another CEO gig?

NRA Logic

The NRA put out an ad yesterday (which I won't link to) that criticizes the president for using the Secret Service to protect his own children, while rejecting the need for armed schools.

They want you to be VERY UPSET by this double standard.

Follow the NRA's logic with me, won't you? They apparently believe that the president has exactly two choices now: Armed teachers and administrators in EVERY school, or no Secret Service protecion for his own children.

Granted, Obama has received more death threats than any president in history, and polls of teachers and school officials show they overwhelming do NOT want to be armed, but if the president doesn't force teachers and school officials to carry guns (or hire only those that will), the only intellectually consistent course of action is to offer up his own children for target practice. If he won't do that, well then, I guess the NRA must be right.

Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

I've been reading as much as I can about this subject since the last mass shooting, but I think I have to stop now. Every time I read a piece that critically examines gun facts (and, to be fair, there are some supporting facts on both sides of the sane debate, it really is possible to study this you know), I drift below to the comments section, and get completely depressed.

Holy crap.

There are people in this country who really believe the United States government is going to disarm its people (like Hitler did!), so that they can, I don't know...take over their own country with military they can inflict...what? Taxes? Health insurance? Food stamps for poor people? Yikes! Better buy more guns.

You can see their point, I guess. Obama really is just like Hitler, other than the fact that he believes in racial diversity (Hitler had a slightly different take), wants to end wars (Hitler was a little different there too), and put an end to torture (again--not exactly Hitler's position). Other than that, they could be twins.

I think part of the problem with this debate is that it's impossible to debate with crazy (Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo) and the NRA is clearly crazy. No wonder they're pushing for mental health reform instead of gun control.

They need it desperately.

Blackhawks Radio Deal

This is really surprising news considering the unrest over at the Tribune company. The Chicago Blackhawks just signed a five-year extension with WGN Radio.

Details at Radio Online.

RIP Jimmy O'Neill

His name might not ring a bell, but in the 1960s, Jimmy was a big deal as the host of "Shindig!" He passed away January 11.

In 1964, he flew all the way to London to do Shindig! so that he could get the Beatles on his show. I found that appearance on YouTube this morning...

The Next Great Voice Talent

I know there are a lot of radio/advertising industry-type folks that read this blog, and thought this might be of interest to you. This report comes from this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

Our pals at Studio Center Total Production are just 24 hours away from the launch of their nationwide voice-over talent search. The stakes are huge -- the grand prizewinner will receive a $100,000 voiceover contract from Studio Center...Contestants will be judged on such criteria as vocal pitch and tone, uniqueness of voice, pronunciation, acting ability, copy interpretation and accent versatility. One winner from each market will compete in the giant-sized finals in Virginia Beach on April 12. Complete contest information is available at

Book Clubs

Remember, if your book club wants to read an Eckhartz Press book, and you happen to live in the Chicago area, feel free to ask the author to attend. (E-mail either or to co-ordinate). If his or her schedule allows, our authors are always happy to participate.

"The Living Wills" is a year old now, but Brendan Sullivan and I are still appearing at book clubs all the time. I did one last night in Winfield, Illinois. Brendan will be doing one tonight in Beverly--he's been doing a ton of them (including the one in the photo above).

Kim Strickland ("Down at the Golden Coin"), Randy Richardson ("Cheeseland"), and Felitsitas Sudendorf ("A Reluctant Immigrant"--our Helgard Press book) would also be happy to attend a book club in the Chicago area. We'll even supply a list of discussion questions if you'd like them.

We're guessing that "The Balding Handbook" isn't really Book Club material...unless you've got a Bald Guys Book Club. If that hasn't been started up yet, by the way, it's never to late, fellas. Dave will bring the dip.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Four Tops

Forty years ago today, the Four Tops released "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I Got)". Here they are on Soul Train performing it...

Arrested for Wedgies

It's one thing to give a wedgie to your little brother. (That sort of behavior is rampant in my house). It's another thing to go a movie theater and start giving wedgies to everyone--while filming yourself doing it. That'll get you arrested.

Technology Soap Opera

C-NET is a website dedicated to reporting about technology. Every year they report on the Consumer Electronics Show and name a "Best in CES" award to the best new gadget from that year's show. The reporters and editors of C-NET voted and awarded it to Dish Network's "Hopper". That's a gadget that allows you to "hop" over television commercials.

Not exactly controversial, right?

Not until C-NET's owner, media giant CBS, urged C-NET not to give the award out to the Hopper. The CEO of CBS himself, Les Moonves, made that "suggestion" because he is currently suing Dish Network because Hopper destroys television's business model. If people don't watch the commercials, television can't sell the commercials, and if television can't sell commercials, they will go out of business.

Hopper's award was revoked.

Full soap opera details here at the Hollywood Reporter.

I try to keep this in mind when I read stories about media conglomerates: There are no "good guys" in any story. In this particular case, 24/7 Wall St. named Dish Network #1 among "America's Worst Companies To Work For". The Hollywood Reporter itself has a rather sordid past, which includes naming names during the Hollywood Blacklist era and blackmailing Hollywood studios into advertising with them.

Ah, the media.

Good people.

Jimmy Hoffa

According to this article in the New York Daily News, Jimmy Hoffa is buried in a shallow grave north of Detroit, in Oakland County Michigan.

So says a reputed Mafia figure.

The New York Jets can now officially stop claiming there's a curse in the Meadowlands endzone.

Today's Best Tweets

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

CNN Breaking News ‏@cnnbrk
Oprah on Lance #Armstrong interview: He acknowledges using banned substances.

Keith Conrad ‏@keithrconrad
18 human heads found at O'Hare. … Just another Tuesday morning in Chicago.

Holly Robinson Peete ‏@hollyrpeete
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr would have turned 84 years old today. Happy Birthday Dr. King! #dream #MLK #MLKDay

Josh Liss ‏@JoshLissSports
3 in the mix for Bears coach; Bruce Arians, Marc Trestman, Darrell Bevell (2nd interview today). Arians' interview w/Eagles is cancelled.

Richie Benaud ‏@RichieBenaud_
I received my first "wish you were dead" tweet just now. My dear friend, I'm in my 80's. Just be patient.

MancowMuller ‏@MancowMuller
Sunday night's "Golden Globes" were seen by almost 20 million viewers. None went; "Wait a sec...Jodie Foster's gay?"

POLITICO ‏@politico
From @PoliticoClick -- Ann Romney passes on 'Dancing With the Stars:'

@StuartScott Blessed by prayers..I'm back in the Fight. C reared its head again. Chemo evry 2 wks

Groovyhoovy ‏@Groovyhoovy
Happy 62nd birthday to Charo. She's as much 62 as my penis is 8 feet long.

Leonard Nimoy ‏@TheRealNimoy
John Chambers depicted by John Goodman in Argo made some fine Spock ears but Fred Phillips designed them and created the whole makeup. LLAP

A New Radio Station for Chicago

From, news of a radio station coming to town...

WZRK/1550 (Lake Geneva, WI) has gone silent pending a move into the Chicago market. The station tells the FCC it went off the air Thursday (1/10) and is seeking permission to remain silent until it constructs its new facility in Highland Park, IL. The station, owned by GS Radio of Illinois, will be licensed to Northbrook and use 1.5kW nondirectional, daytime-only. The CP for the move expires on Nov. 15. A message posted on the station's website says it "has ceased operations at this time due to repeated theft at our transmitter." WZRK was also silent for a time last summer after copper thieves struck its Lyons Township, WI tower site. It had carred "The Avenue," a syndicated mix of Jazz, Rock, Swing, and Blues.

Colin Kaepernick

When you watch the NFC Championship Game this weekend keep in mind that one of those players was actually drafted to play baseball by the Chicago Cubs. He's the guy that ran for almost 200 yards last week against the Packers: Colin Kaepernick.

By the way, if he and I ever live in the same town, he'll be the very next name listed below mine in the phone book. There aren't a lot of us KAE-ers out there.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Father Knows Nothing

My mother said something to me recently I guarantee that your mother has NEVER said to you. Details in Father Knows Nothing.

You can read it here.

Elvis in Hawaii

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac...a momentous day in music history exactly 40 years ago today.

January 14, 1973…Elvis Presley drew the largest single television audience ever for his "Aloha From Hawaii" concert, broadcast live via satellite from Honolulu's International Center Arena to more than one billion people in 40 countries. Viewers in North America didn't get to see the show live, or at all, until April 4 when it was aired by NBC-TV. The audio from the concert was released as a double-album later that year.

Cara Carriveau

My old Loop pal Cara was in the news today. This report came from Robert Feder...

"Two of Hubbard Radio’s highest profile female air personalities are switching stations and swapping jobs this week. Cara Carriveau, who’s been hosting middays on hot adult-contemporary WTMX-FM (101.9), will shift to evenings on adult hits WILV-FM (100.3). And Lisa Allen, who been hosting evenings on Rewind 100.3, will shift to middays on the Mix. "In making this move, we feel that we have improved and reinvigorated each brand, and we're doing it with two terrific on-air hosts and two terrific people,” Greg Solk, senior vice president of programming for Hubbard Radio, told staffers in a memo Monday."

I know Greg is a big Cara fan, but I'm guessing Cara isn't thrilled by this news. I've previously interviewed both Cara and Greg for Chicago Radio Spotlight

The Bad Boy Radio Trial

That's what they're calling it in Tampa.

It's a defamation case. Todd "MJ" Schnitt versus Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. Here's my favorite part of the article:

"Witness lists include dozens of media personalities — including disgraced former Tribune Co. chief executive Randy Michaels — plus a Tampa breast implant surgeon, Hills­borough's top prosecutor, and assorted radio characters with such names as Jabberjaw, Cowhead and 25 Cent. Don't fret that Hulk Hogan was left out. He's on the list, too.

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong is going to be interviewed by Oprah today. He's on a quest to rehabilitate his image. I have a feeling it won't work because he has been such a defiant in-your-face liar over the past few decades.

To me, the tragedy of his lying and cheating isn't the disgrace it brought to the sport of cycling. Don't care. To me, the tragedy is that Armstrong really was an inspiring figure for cancer survivors. I personally know a few who read his book, got his bracelet, and used his story to inspire them. His charity foundation LiveStrong did a lot of good things.

The New York Times looks at that angle this morning.

Manchester United

Love this Manchester United tune...sounds like a TV-theme song.

Matt Busby, by the way, was the manager of Manchester United in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. He was also referred to in the Beatles song "Dig It".

The Golden Globes

The Golden Globes were on last night. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted.

Didn't watch it.

I really only watched it the last couple of years to see how mean Ricky Gervais was going to get.

If you care who won, here's the list.

Jake Hartford

Unexpectedly sad news yesterday. WLS Radio's Jake Hartford (real name Jim Edwards) passed away at the age of 63 (heart attack). He had just gotten his big radio break a few months ago when he was named the co-host of the midday show at WLS (with John Kass).

The WLS website posted a statement from Hartford's family, "We're currently mourning the loss of Jake Hartford, a husband, father, and friend. This is devastating news for everyone in our family, and we greatly appreciate all of the kind words that have been offered to us during our struggle. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts as we do our best to 'spring forward'."

I interviewed Jake/Jim for Chicago Radio Spotlight back in 2009.