Friday, June 21, 2013

The Recalled to Life Book Release Party

We had a wonderful time last night in LaGrange at the "Recalled to Life" book release party. The Hammer Boutique was packed to the gills with people coming out to support Eckhartz Press author Dan Burns. Thanks so much to everyone who came out!

We met artist Susan Rackish Janssen there. Her painting inspired the cover of "Recalled to Life". She was even manning the wine-stand, pouring complimentary wine for the attendees. Eckhartz Press co-publisher David Stern and I gravitated to the food spread (Salami! We love salami!).

We were so happy for Dan Burns, who was in element, schmoozing through the large throng of people on hand. We're guessing his signing hand is a little cramped up this morning.

For those of you unlucky enough to have missed this fun event, don't forget that "Recalled to Life" is available right here at Eckhartz Press. The e-book has been submitted to retailers, and will be available soon at the usual outlets. Keep watching this space for more information.

The painting...

The artist...

The author...

The foodspread...

The crowd...

Sumner Redstone's Girlfriend Adopts a Baby

She's 42. He's 90. The New York Daily News has the details.

I'm sure all of Sumner's children (who have all at one time or another had public tiffs with their own pops) are rolling their eyes.

From the article...

Viacom spokesman Carl Folta also assures us that “Mr. Redstone doesn’t have any involvement with this child,” though a source close to the May-December pair, who were born nearly half a century apart, says the little girl is named Alexandra Red, which was shortened from Redstone. “They cut the last name on purpose so the media doesn’t find out,” says a source close to the pair. “They are not telling anyone.”

Good luck, kid.

RIP Slim Whitman

Slim passed away this week. He was 90 years old. This infomercial is the thing I'll remember about him...

It ran on television endlessly during my favorite reruns.

Lake Shore Drive 1900

This photo was tweeted by historian Michael Beschloss. Things have changed a bit in the last 113 years...

Vin Scully Tweets

I love this story. Vin Scully, the legendary baseball broadcaster (now 85 years old!), began tweeting this week.

Paid Content has the details.

According to the article, he immediately rocked it. No surprise to me. Vin Scully is one of my heroes. He's the last of the baseball broadcasting giants (though he broadcasts for the Dodgers).


I'll admit I haven't been watching many Cubs games this season, but I did check out a few moments of the Cubs-Cardinals series. Those are always worth a quick perusal.

On this day in history, the Cubs actually contributed mightily to the very first Cardinals World Series championship. It's true. They traded them a pitcher who had showed up drunk 60% of the time over the previous two weeks.

That pitcher was instrumental in the World Series for the Cardinals later that year. The story and the video is here at Cubs 365.

Indecency and the FCC

Broadcasters are coming together to urge the F.C.C. to give up it's nonsensical enforcement of stringent indency rules, particularly when they are fleeting indecenies that the broadcasters themselves had nothing to do with. From today's Tom Taylor column...

Fox tells the FCC it’s time to get out of the indecency business. It demands “the full First Amendment protection bestowed on all speakers by the Constitution.” The comments by Fox are perhaps the sharpest of any of the big owners. (Read the filing here.) Though NBC Universal also says that “the agency’s current indecency policies and procedures violate broadcasters’ First Amendment rights and cannot be maintained.” It cites the tools that parents now have to “control the content available in their homes.” But Fox insists it’s time to scrap the whole indecency enforcement mechanism. Though it, like NBCUniversal and the NAB, has the fallback Plan B argument of “fix the rules.” Radio licensees are also imperiled by the confusing state of the FCC rules, and they’re filing comments, too. Emmis and Radio One join TV owners New Vision and Nexstar to suggest improving the way indecency complaints are reviewed...Entercom, Greater Media, Lincoln Financial Media, Beasley, Galaxy, Americom and other radio groups want a return to the previous standard about “fleeting expletives” or on-screen nudity. Their joint filing also says the agency should get out of the indecency enforcement business.

I couldn't agree more. The times have changed, technology has changed, and it's time for the F.C.C. to change this rule. The whole world is still laughing at our ridiculous reaction to the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cheech & Chong

They have reunited and are appearing in the Chicago area this weekend (actually Hammond)

I bought their albums in the 70s and thought they were hilarious at the time, but I fear their comedy doesn't exactly stand the test of time. Here's an example of one of their famous bits from that era...

See what I mean?

Today's Best Tweets

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

Los Angeles Times ‏@latimes 36m
Stephen Colbert rarely breaks character, but his beloved mother's passing prompts one of those times.

Bob Woodruff ‏@BobWoodruff 2h
James Gandolfini committed much time 2 wounded current war veterans-I met him after I left the hospital w/my own injuries. I truly miss him

Beth Fouhy ‏@bfouhy 10m
Just remembered Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign video spoof of the Sopranos final diner scene.

ChicagoNow ‏@ChicagoNow 23m
RT @670TheScore: Report: Hernandez will be arrested in connection w/ Mass. murder

Talking Points Memo ‏@TPM 1m
Reports: Howie Kurtz to join Fox News

Brian Stelter ‏@brianstelter 3m
CNN spokeswoman thanks Kurtz & says "Reliable Sources will continue on CNN, and will be hosted by a variety of people in the coming months."

The Daily Beast ‏@thedailybeast 4m
‘Star Wars’ Casting Call Revealed #cheatsheet

Rob ‏@rlincolnharris 26m
Blackhawks-Bruins: A Series To Savor | ChicagoSide …

Sarah Silverman ‏@SarahKSilverman 27m
Ate pot before I played basketball. Noticed myself saying "not on my watch" a lot.

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 28m
John Paul II takes another step towards sainthood

RIP James Gandolfini

This was a shocker last night. James Gandolfini is dead. He was only 51 years old. That's waaaaaay too young (says the man about to turn 50). Of course, Gandolfini will always be remembered as Tony Soprano. The clip below is an examination of The Soprano's place in television history.

Marketing Superman in Church?

This AP article claims that's exactly what Warner Brothers is doing.

The studio enlisted Christian-focused firm Grace Hill Media to promote "Man of Steel" to faith-based groups by inviting them to early screenings and creating trailers that highlight the film's religious themes. They also enlisted Craig Detweiler, a Pepperdine University professor and author of "Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century," to create a Superman-centric sermon outline for pastors titled "Jesus: The Original Superhero."

Wow. I would have loved to have been in the meeting they decided that was a good idea. "We missed the boat on The Hulk," I imagine one of them saying. "Remember, Jesus was transformed too when he was resurrected. Same thing."

Marc Alghini

WXRT is about to lose one of their long-time staffers. That's something that doesn't happen everyday. From today's RAMP newsletter...

Marc Alghini will soon be leaving Chicago and Google-Mapping his way to Peoria, IL as the newly named PD/morning personality for Advanced Media Partners' Triple A WWCT. He replaces current PD Harry Wareing, who remains with the station as a consultant. Alghini has spent the past seven years with CBS Radio Triple A WXRT/Chicago, serving as Morning Show Producer and overnight/weekend air personality. "Marc brings a wealth of knowledge, passion, and creativity to 'CT that will impact the station from his first day; assets that will help grow the station as a whole," said Advanced Media GM Michael Rea.

The first job offer I ever got from a radio station was from WWCT. Phil Manicki (currently at the Drive) was the PD at the time, and offered me the overnight shift on the same day that Steve and Garry offered me the job to produce their show. Believe it or not, it was a tough choice for me. I think, in the long run, I made the right pick, but I've always appreciated the offer from WWCT.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Garfield is 35

On this day in 1978, Garfield made his first appearance in a newspaper. Now he makes daily appearances in my house. My ten year old likes to tell me Garfield strips. I love the kid, but listening to Garfield comic strips re-created by a ten year old is very close to torture.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Scott Powers ‏@ESPNChiPowers 3m
No sign of Hossa yet for the morning skate. Everyone else appears to be here.

Dan Rosen ‏@drosennhl 1h
Since going to best-of-7 format in 1939, teams leading the Cup Final 2-1 have gone on to capture the Stanley Cup 83% of the time (39-8).

Matt Spiegel ‏@MattSpiegel670 12m
Great stuff here on the Blackhawks power play from anonymous NHL head coaches. …

alan cox ‏@alancoxshow 5m
Thank you baby Jesus. Sofia Vergara's poolside thong selfie:

Andy Richter ‏@AndyRichter 13m
Is it just me, or does it seem like we have a much more casual attitude about alien anal probes than we used to?

Joel Denver ‏@jdenver 17m
Who Are The Top 50 'Not So Hot' Looking DJ's? | … via @allaccess

Chipper Jones ‏@RealCJ10 31m
Boy I'm glad I retired! Would not wanna face Harvey and Wheeler 5 or 6 times a year for the next 10yrs. Those boys were electric yesterday!

Alex Walsh ‏@ajwalsh08 18m
Student loan debt has doubled in 5-year span, to nearly $1 trillion

Half Acre Beer ‏@HalfAcreBeer 31m
Beautiful weather calls for beautiful beer. Cuda is unleashed today at noon.

Paul M. Banks ‏@PaulMBanks 37m
Tim Donaghy describes how the NBA allegedly fixes games (exclusive): You remember Tim Donaghy?

Hastings Killed in Auto Accident

He was a fearless war correspondent, the man who brought down Gen. McCrystal when he published his expose about Afghanistan, but he died on a highway in Los Angeles.

Sad news. He was one of the few members of his generation that had real star potential in the world of journalism. He was only 33 years old.

Even Fox Has Scruples

A Fox Business Channel commentator was paid $50,000 to tout stock, which is about as bad as it gets in the media scruples world.

To Fox's credit, when they found out about it, they fired the guy.

Although, those scruples have only been recently added to their approach, according to this little excerpt buried in the Marketwatch article...

On Tuesday afternoon, though, Fox terminated Smith’s contract on the basis of its contributor policy, according to a spokesman. Smith, by text message, confirmed the news. Asked earlier whether he had violated Fox’s rules, Smith said, via text message, “that policy was added late last year … my contract was not subject to that clause …”

I'm not going to quibble. At least they did the right thing.

I have a friend who follows the markets closely (as his job), and he always tells me to ignore any stock being pushed by any television commentator. "Once they are pushing it on television," he tells me, "you can be sure they've already sucked all the money out of it. Now they are making money off of you. The smart money is peddling it to the dumb money."

And the dumb money is me and you.

Netflix Creates Family Page

I know I'm late to this Netflix game (they have 36 million subscribers), but I really like the way they do business.

Their latest effort is a Family Page to help keep the kids occupied on long trips and summer vacations. As someone about to head out on one, it's speaks to me. So much so, I may even subscribe for the first time ever.

Like I said...a little late to the party.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Paul McCartney's Birthday

He's 71 years old today. I thought I'd have him sing to himself...

The Tribune Sale

It's been openly acknowledged that the Tribune is for sale. Have you heard, however, how many different offers they've gotten?

Would you believe 40?

So says today's Tribune.

Tasteless Radio Gets the Ax

I've always said that the only thing that offends me is people that are easily offended...but, I feel like I need to add something to the list. Another thing that offends me is making fun of sick or disabled people. Why on earth would you do that? It happened in Atlanta. From Radio Ink...

Radio received national attention Monday for all the wrong reasons. But, the punishment was quick and severe. Lincoln Financial Media Atlanta Senior Vice President and General Manager Rick Mack says Nick Cellini, Chris Dimino, and Steak Shapiro, formerly known as "Mayhem in the AM," on 790-AM The Zone in Atlanta have been fired. The three were let go after making fun of former new Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason. Gleason is suffering from ALS, is in a wheelchair, and has lost most of his motor skills.

Get it? Whoa. OK, that's impossible to defend.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Birthday To My Bride

She still looks exactly like she did on our wedding day, nearly 22 years ago. Happy birthday, Bridget.

"Recalled to Life" Book Release Party

Hammer Boutique

The official book launch party for Dan Burns' "Recalled to Life" will be taking place this Thursday night at Hammer Boutique, 703 W Hillgrove Ave, in La Grange. Dan will be on hand from 6:30-9pm to sell and sign copies of his debut novel, which has been selling briskly at

Don Evans, the director of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, said this about Dan's literary effort: "Recalled to Life turns everyday life on its head, and begs the reader to look more carefully on the flimsy fabric and hard work that hold together happiness. This is a modern story of generational family life in which the parts don't neatly make a whole."

They say you can't judge a book by it's cover, but this cover has also been garnering rave reviews. It's as if artist Susan Rackish Janssen read the novel and then painted her impression of its contents. It captures the tone and feel of the book beautifully. Naturally, with a cover this beautiful, the launch party is taking place in a classic boutique.

Come on out and say hello to Dan, browse the boutique, and of course, purchase your copy of the latest release by Eckhartz Press, Recalled to Life


Led Zeppelin

According to The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac, today marked the official beginning of Led Zeppelin's final tour...

June 17, 1980…In Dortmund, West Germany, Led Zeppelin began three weeks of European shows on what proved to be the band's last tour.

I attended their show in Ludwigshafen. We moved back to America just a few days later. They never made it to the US portion of their tour because John Bonham died.

Today's Best Tweets

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

NBC News ‏@NBCNews 6m
Feds digging in Michigan field for Hoffa's remains

Josh Marshall ‏@joshtpm 7m
Snowden loses a little cred each time he claims USG make take him out with a hit squad … via @ericlach

Freeman and Fox ‏@TheSportsBros 10m
#BreakingNews @ochocinco Chad Johnson to be released from jail after apology to court; probation extended by a month.

The Associated Press ‏@AP 19m
U.S. Supreme court says states can't require proof of citizenship just to fill out "Motor Voter" forms: -SS

ESPN ‏@espn 24m
For Tim Duncan, trying to win a 5th championship came second to hanging out with his kids on Father’s Day - >

Ezra Klein ‏@ezraklein 25m
The usefulness of pie charts, in two pie charts

Chicago Tribune ‏@chicagotribune 29m
Obituary: Second City co-founder Bernard "Bernie" Sahlins

Taegan Goddard ‏@politicalwire 32m
A new novel imagines the country if Sarah Palin became president after John McCain died …

Adam Schefter ‏@AdamSchefter 1h
Reality TV 1994: On this day 19 years ago, OJ Simpson led police and this country on the car chase that riveted all.

Rob Hart ‏@RobHart1980 53m
FUN FACT: The White Sox gave up more ML talent to land Nick Swisher than the Tigers did to get Miguel Cabrera.

Miss Utah


Miss Utah had a very rough Q&A session in the Miss USA pageant.

Superman Kills At the Box Office

I haven't seen it yet, but based on these opening weekend numbers, I may be the only one that hasn't seen "Man of Steel". It had the biggest June opening in history (and there have been some huge June movies in the past).

Anderson Cooper, The Song

A heavy metal group called Cryptic Murmurs have written a song about Anderson Cooper.

You can see/hear it here.

CNN's New Morning Show

It debuted this morning, with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira, and it's called "New Day". (The AP has details on the show)

I'm not going to watch it for a few weeks to give it a chance to find itself. TV debuts can be a little rough. I'll give it a full review before the end of the summer.

Lite's Out in Chicago

After more than twenty years with the label (since 1989), Lite-FM is changing it's name. Radio Insight has all the details.

The station has been jockless for awhile now, and when the new jocks are hired (and more than likely voicetracked), they will be calling the station 93.9 My FM, and will be playing “More Variety From The 80′s To Now”

Upcoming Appearance

Got this in my e-mail box this morning, so it must be true...

CWA & IWPA Summer Social 2013
Thursday, August 1, 2013 from 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Join the Chicago Writers Association and the Illinois Woman's Press Association for a FREE networking event. Mix and mingle with new friends and professional contacts, while learning new tricks of the trade from seasoned publishing successes. Cash bar and complimentary appetizers.

Special guests include:

Christine Sneed, author of the novel, Little Known Facts, and the short story collection, Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry, and winner of the Chicago Public Library Foundation's 21st Century Award for 2013

Rick Kaempfer, Publisher (Eckhartz Press), Author (Severence, The Living Wills, Records Truly Is My Middle Name), Media Critic (Illinois Entertainer) Blogger (Just One Bad Century and Father Knows Nothing) and Former Radio Producer (Steve & Garry)

Mike O'Mary, founding dreamer of Dream of Things (publishes anthologies of creative nonfiction, memoirs and other books) and a writer of essays, fiction, drama and sketch comedy.
More special guests coming. Stay tuned!

CWA and IWPA look forward to welcoming our members (and welcome guests!) at this FREE event!

Writing it on the calendar now. Actually sounds like fun.

Art Vuolo's Tribute to Bill Bailey

He passed away last week (see excerpt from Records Truly Is My Middle Name a few items below). I thought this was a very nice tribute by Art Vuolo...