Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Birth of Tommy Kaempfer

My oldest son was born 18 years ago today...

The following is a transcript of the telephone conversation on the air the morning of Tommy's birth. The participants are John Landecker (center), sidekick Vicki Truax (the only female in the group picture), and proud papa Rick.

John: Oldies 104.3 WJMK, It's 12 minutes after 6:00 with John Records Landecker and Vicki Truax. The hotline...the private ringing. Hello.

Rick: Hello.

John: Well?

Rick: I'm a papa.

(Loud cheering and whooping in the studio)

Vicki: A girl or a boy?

Rick: A boy.

Vicki: I KNEW IT!!! What's his name?

Rick: Thomas Peter.

Vicki: What time?

Rick: 4:06 a.m.

John: Wow. How's everybody doing?

Rick: Everyone is fine.

Vicki: Bridget is fine too? Is she exhausted?

Rick: Yup, she's holding Thomas right now.

John & Vicki: Awwwww.

Rick: 7 pounds, 3 ounces.

John & Vicki: Awwwww.

Rick: And I recorded the entire thing on Digital audio tape.

Vicki: You're kidding? She didn't make you turn it off?

Rick: No. I had it put in a nice place where it didn't get in anyone's way.

John: We've got Thomas' birth on tape.

Rick: Yup. And we got his first bath on tape too, and his first cry.

John: Something tells me we better get more tape. OK, here's his first eyelid opening. Better get that on tape. We're going through his first toll...let's get that on tape. Hey Rick, don't you just want to...

John, Vicki & Rick: Hug and kiss them all the time?

(That was something Vicki said so often about her daughter it was a running joke on the show)

Rick: He is so damn cute.

John & Vicki: Awwwwww.

Rick: Wait a he crying? Hold on.

Sound: A tiny baby cry can be heard.

John: Is that him?

Rick: Yup. His on-air debut.

John: Wow!

Rick: He's got some lungs on him.

John: That kid sounds like he's two years old.

Rick: Yeah, he's got good pipes.

John: Does he want to come in and do a few record talkovers?

Vicki: How long is he?

Rick: 21 inches.

John: So what was it like?

Rick: It was so cool. It was just like the movie "Alien." The baby kind of popped out and looked around. Then he jumped up and sucked my eyes out...

John & Vicki: (Laughing)

John: Then Siguorney Weaver came in with some sort of a mechanical device. It was unbelievable.

Vicki: You guys. Is he all wrinkly. Does he have hair?

Rick: Yeah, he does have hair. That was the first thing we saw. I asked the nurse...ewww...what is that? That's his hair. Oh.

John: Did you get it on tape?

Rick: Of course. Uh, oh. I have to go. We need to take Bridget up to the recovery room.

Vicki: You're still in the delivery room?

Rick: Yeah.

Vicki: That's dedication.

John: How many calls have you made so far?

Rick: This is my second call. I called my mom first.

John: Wow. Well take care of everyone.

Rick: Thanks.

John & Vicki: Bye.

John: There they go. Dad Rick, Mom Bridget and now Thomas Kaempfer.

Vicki: I kind of liked the other name Rick was talking about before.

John: I don't think Bridget was ever going to agree to Ringo.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Yeah Baby

The incredibly creative world of television news...

Today's Best Tweets

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

USA TODAY Health ‏@USATODAYhealth 14m
Is bacon birth control? Are Oreos addictive? @USATODAY's @KimPainter takes a look at the week's health headlines,

Washington Post ‏@washingtonpost 16m
FACT CHECK: Ted Cruz’s claims about Obamacare by @GlennKesslerWP

Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 20m
Sources: Bidding for Abreu was close and furious. Four clubs bid between $63 and $66M. #WhiteSox’s winning bid was $68M.

Chicago Bears ‏@ChicagoBears 37m
LM: #Bears averaging 28.7 ppg (third best in NFL); on pace to break team record held by '85 Super Bowl champs by 3 points.

USA TODAY Life ‏@usatodaylife 30m
REVIEW: Harrowing '12 Years a Slave' is "a mesmerizing period drama for the ages."

Los Angeles Times ‏@latimes 13m
The World Health Organization has declared air pollution a human carcinogen like tobacco smoke, asbestos and arsenic

Paul McCartney ‏@PaulMcCartney 26m
If you overslept & missed Paul's interview on @XFM's Breakfast Show with @jonholmes1 you can listen to it HERE:

The Daily Beast ‏@thedailybeast 33m
"Walmart Moms" are furious with Washington, and Hillary may be the only one who can win them back

ABC 7 Chicago ‏@ABC7Chicago 7m
BREAKING: Former U.S. Speaker of the House Tom Foley has died, according to House Democratic aides.

GENDER BLENDER: Woman finds new catwalk career posing as male model...

Chuck Berry

87 years old today...

F.C.C. Chairman's Confirmation Blocked

Guess who is blocking it. Ted Cruz.

Cruz is concerned that this potential chairman will enforce a law that doesn't currently exist (it was defeated), but might be passed in the future.


Christmas Present Idea


The Great American Menu

Deadspin writer Albert Burneko ranked regional dishes from around the country. The map is below. His rankings are here. Illinois comes in first place.

The Science Blogging Scandal

I must admit I don't read science blogs. It's not that I'm anti-science, it's just that science is not exactly my area of expertise or interest.

So I had no idea there was a huge scandal going on in the science blogging world until I read this in Slate Magazine.

It's pretty sad that the scandal got my attention, but the science didn't. What can I say? I am who I am.

Bill Watterson Interview

A very, very rare interview with recluse cartoonist Bill Watterson appears in the December issue of Mental Floss.

You can read it here.

If you don't know Watterson, he's the creator of the best and most creative comic strip in history; Calvin & Hobbes.

Winners of the Shutdown

The winner of the Government Shutdown wasn't the Republicans, obviously, and it wasn't the Democrats who will have to go through this all again in a few months.

The big winner was National Review reporter Robert Costa. His reporting on the behind the scenes machinations of the Republican planning was indispensable.

New York Magazine has a profile of him this morning.

Could the Cubs be leaving WGN Radio?

That's the subject of speculation in today's Tom Taylor NOW column...

Rights fees for Chicago’s WGN (720) shot up when Sam Zell sold the Cubs to as much as $10 million a year, says the Chicago Tribune – and “maybe more.” Plus the team’s new ownership, the Ricketts family, hasn’t exactly endeared itself to the fans, and that’s showing up on the field and in the ratings. Now the Tribune-owned talk station wants a reduction in the rights fee, during a 2014 negotiating window that’s built into their deal. WGN boss Jimmy de Castro says “the contract calls for us to take a look at it, and we’re going to do that.” The Tribune paper says WGN is “losing significant money on the Cubs broadcasts, with listeners and advertisers tuning out a team that has lost 197 games in the last two years.” But how low will the Cubs go, and how much does de Castro want to keep them?...It's not hard to imagine CBS making a run at the Cubs. And the Dickey family has the Braves in Atlanta, so WLS would be in the mix, too. de Castro may find the field more crowded than he’d like.

1910 World Series

103 years ago this week the Cubs were playing in the World Series. The full story of the snakebitten series of events is told in today's Cubs 365.

And would you believe there is actually some film from that series?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

2013 Book of the Year Finalist

Well lookee here. The Chicago Writers Association has named "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" by John Records Landecker and Rick Kaempfer as a finalist for 2013 Book of the Year (in the traditional non-fiction category)!

See the full list here.

Congratulations John!

(Where is that book available, again? Oh yeah, at Eckhartz Press.)

Incredible Hubble Telescope Photographs

These are really spectactular. Here are two examples. The first one is the Orion Nebula, and the second one is Carina Nebula.

A Lobbyist and a Senator Walk Into A Restaurant

Some bi-partisan humor...

What can you get for $24 billion

The government shutdown cost the country $24 billion. So, you could get a pointless government shutdown, or you could get the following things. From Business Insider...

1. Almost 1.5 NASAs.
2. 554,413 kids to private college.
3. 1,078,119 kids to college in their home state.
4. 15 $5 Footlongs from Subway for every American.
5. A single long-stem rose from for every person in India.
6. 11 days worth of Social Security.
7. Hurricane Charley and Hurricane Frances damage combined.
8. Homes for 87,944 "average" Americans.
9. 8.3 billion free school lunches for children.
10. 7.1 billion gallons of gas for Americans.
11. 1,41,176,470 breast cancer screenings.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Roger Simon ‏@politicoroger 16m
OK, Washingtonians, now you can go back to not visiting the monuments and memorials.

The Onion ‏@TheOnion 25m
This pesto chicken sandwich looks almost exactly like British novelist Martin Amis:

WSJ MoneyBeat ‏@WSJMoneyBeat 28m
The 16-day partial government shutdown and debt-ceiling debate cost the economy $24 billion, S&P says

Funny Or Die ‏@funnyordie 30m
18 Easy Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas:

CollegeHumor ‏@CollegeHumor 7m
If Drugs Had Mascots Sneak peek at weed

Slate ‏@Slate 13m
What the what!? Russians found a huge chunk of last February's meteorite at the bottom of a lake--PHOTOS:

Will Smith ‏@imWilISmith 18h
No matter how good or bad you think life is, wake up each day and be thankful for life. Someone somewhere else is fighting to survive.

BuzzFeed Politics ‏@BuzzFeedPol 24m
John Boehner's Facebook Wall Is Not A Happy Place Right Now

Paul M. Banks ‏@PaulMBanks 21m
Chicago Cubs prospects Kris Bryant and Albert Almora dominate AFL:

Paul Begala ‏@PaulBegala 24m
I have obtained secret video of @SenatorReid in final negotiation w/McConnell:


"This American Life" host Ira Glass recently played a few episodes of the classic WCFL bit Chickenman on his show...

Stenographer Removed From House Floor For Shouting

In a week of weird stories coming out Washington, this one is the weirdest.

It appears the House Stenographer just snapped.

When I first heard about it, I thought "Oh no, I hope Sean Hannity is OK."

(That's a joke, my conservative friends. Just a joke.)

An Unusual Way to Raise Money for Breast Cancer Research

These guys promised to donated $20 for every woman who let them "motorboat" them. They raised over $2000, and did in fact, donate the money to breast cancer research. (No nudity involved, but probably NSFW)

Pros and Cons of Coffee Consumption

In graphic form. Thanks to "BC" for sending this. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

Disney Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry is presenting: "Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives"

It was the 90th anniversary of Disney yesterday, the opening day of the exhibit. It runs through May 4th and contains more than 300 artifacts from the Disney archives. Sounds like something the little ones would love.

More details are here.

Don Geronimo Moving On

Former Chicago (WLS, WBBM) jock Don Geronimo had been hosting a talk show in Sacremento, but he announced the other day that he was going to leaving the station. Details at Radio Online.

Just a few months ago John Landecker appeared on his show to promote "Records Truly Is My Middle Name". If you want to hear that interview, it's here. (At least for now)

Mike Greenberg

The co-host of ESPN's Mike and Mike, Mike Greenberg, did something wonderful yesterday...he donated $100,000 to breast cancer research.

Greenberg was inspired by the death of a good friend. He also wrote a novel that was inspired by her death. It's called "All You Could Ask For".

Ronan Farrow

I hadn't even heard of Ronan until a few weeks ago when his mother Mia admitted his father probably wasn't Woody Allen. (It was probably her ex-husband Frank Sinatra.) What I didn't realize at the time is that Ronan is a journalist with political credentials. (He worked in the Obama administration)

MSNBC announced yesterday they just hired him to do a weekday show on their network.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Record Stores I Have Known

WDRV personality Bobby Skafish has one of the most readable facebook pages around.

This week he's been focusing on "Record Stores I Have Known"; a look back at the places he purchased the vinyl that sparked his love of music. Brought back memories for me too. If you get a chance, I highly recommend checking it out.

Bobby's Facebook page is here. There are a few record store memories already posted and he promises more to come.

Takin' Care of Business

C.F. Turner from Bachman Turner Overdrive is 70 today. I bought this 45 when it came out in 1974...

Today's Best Tweets

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

Joseph Carlson ‏@joscarlson 2m
Fascinating: The true story of how the CIA promoted American abstract expressionist artists during the Cold War

Breaking News ‏@BreakingNews 4m
Bipartisan deal in hand to reopen government, avoid default, Republican senator says - @AP

Robert Costa ‏@robertcostaNRO 11m
RT @sahilkapur Multiple Senate sources say Boehner has agreed to vote first on the Reid-McConnell deal. Game over.

Ezra Klein ‏@ezraklein 5m
What Republicans got: Nothing.

Matt Yglesias ‏@mattyglesias 8m
One problem with today’s debt ceiling deal—we’re just going to do this all over again in February:

Talking Points Memo ‏@TPM 8m
Matt Drudge predicts Pelosi will be next speaker:

Joe Scarborough ‏@JoeNBC 2m
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was.... #ShutdownPolitics

Sam Stein ‏@samsteinhp 5m
So, we will end up where we started, but only after absorbing a $4.8 billion economic hit. ($300m a day x 16 days)

Roger Simon ‏@politicoroger 2m
I'll grasp at any straw right now, but I'll believe there is a deal when the House and Senate vote and the president signs it.

The New York Times ‏@nytimes 1m
The NYT obituary for Hans Riegel, the man who made Gummi Bears a global favorite

Chicago Flavored Vodka?

Absolut Vodka has created a Chicago-flavored vodka. What is Chicago flavored? Essense of olive and rosemary.

Okey doke.

Sounds more like an Italian chicken dish.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

This year's nominees have been announced. From

Alternative rock band Nirvana, singers Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens, and pop duo Hall and Oates led nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 2014 class, the foundation that runs the music museum said on Wednesday...Other nominees include U.S. rock groups Kiss, alternative pioneers the Replacements and early rock guitarist Link Wray, along with British rock bands Yes, Deep Purple and the Zombies, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation said in a statement. British singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 as a member of the rock group Genesis, also earned a nod for his solo work. American rapper LL Cool J and gangster rap pioneers N.W.A., which helped launch the solo careers of rapper-producer Dr. Dre and rappers Ice Cube and Easy-E, were the only hip-hop artists to garner nominations. U.S. disco band Chic, funk band the Meters and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band also received nominations for the second consecutive year.

Still no nomination for the band Chicago. My old pal Dick Biondi has asked to be removed from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame until Chicago is enshrined.

Old Jews Telling Jokes

Love this YouTube series...

The Average Man's Body

This article in the Atlantic made me feel a little better about myself. It includes graphic renderings of the average American man's body. Turns out, I'm not turning into a fat piece of 50-year-old crap like I thought I was.

Just an average Joe.

Gallows Humor

Thanks to "CL" for this...

The 60 Sexiest Female Sports Reporters of 2013

They are ranked by the website I thought I watched a lot of sports, but I honestly only knew 4 of these ladies (Hannah Storm, Melissa Stark, Sarah Spain, and Erin Andrews).

See the full list (with pictures) here.

USA Saves Mexico

What a dramatic night last night for US Soccer. The Americans had already qualified for the World Cup and were playing against Panama. If Panama won, Mexico would have been eliminated from the World Cup for the first time in many years.

When regulation time ended, the score was 2-1 in favor of Panama. The referee awarded an additional three minutes of time (which is common) because of injuries, and during that extra time, the United States stunned the world by scoring twice. The 3-2 win eliminated Panama, and saved our arch rival (in soccer), Mexico.

I got a big kick (not meant to be a soccer term here) out of this picture posted on the U.S. National Team's facebook page...

New US99 Night Jock

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

After a six-planet search, CBS Radio Country WUSN (US99.5)/Chicago has procured its new live night jock, as PD Jeff Kapugi introduces Joel Lisinski. As we recently reported, US99.5 APD/MD Marci Braun had been tracking the night shift, but will now track the overnight show. Lisinski, a Chicago native, most recently worked for Entercom Milwaukee at Top 40 WXSS (103.7 Kiss FM) and Hot AC WMYX (99.1 The Mix). He previously worked at NextMedia Hot AC WXLC/Waukegan, IL. "I'm thrilled to come home to Chicago and work with Jeff and the amazing team at US99.5," said Lisinski, who makes his US99.5 debut during the week of Nov. 4. "I am truly humbled to have such a great opportunity at this legendary station." According to Kapugi, "We are still working on an air name for Joel... suggestions welcomed."

I have a suggestion for an air name. How about Joel Lisinski? It is Chicago, after all. I think we can handle a Polish last name. There's no need to Billy Bob it up for us.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tetherball Bear

Oddly difficult to stop watching...

For Once in My Life

Released 45 years ago today...

Man Who Has Had Sex With Cars

Not "in" cars, "with" cars. And nearly a thousand of them. And a helicopter too.

The full story is here.

My question to him is not "Why?" That seems like something I could never comprehend. My question is different. My question is; "How?"

I guess I don't really want to know the answer, but I am curious.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Deadspin ‏@Deadspin 12m
Cardinals complain about Dodgers' "Mickey Mouse" celebrations:

WXRT Chicago ‏@93XRT 21m
.@PaulMcCartney Supports @MileyCyrus' Right to #Twerk: 'Come On, We've Seen Worse Than That!'

Larry Sabato ‏@LarrySabato 5m
To check out our presentation about new info in the JFK assassination, just click here: …

Steve Aschburner ‏@AschNBA 7m
ICYMI: If D.Rose will be part-timer for Bulls this yr, make it on his/their terms. Circle 20-25 dates now to sit:

Roger Simon ‏@politicoroger 2m
Q: If Ted Cruz & John Boehner were on a sinking ship, who would be saved?
A: America.
My column ICYMI:

Matt Yglesias ‏@mattyglesias 32m
Don’t look now, but Ted Cruz could unilaterally push us past the debt ceiling with random senate stalling tactics: …

Tamara Keith ‏@tamarakeithNPR 46m
House expects to vote today/tonight on House Rs debt limit/government funding offer.

ChiTribSports ‏@ChiTribSports 8m
Former Bulls guard Duhon injured during hit-and-run

ChicagoNow ‏@ChicagoNow 3m
Cool Halloween costumes that won't embarrass your teen

Ben Finfer ‏@BenFinfer 3m
Still undecided about watching the 2003 Cubs documentary on @CSNChicago. It'll probably be a game time decision for me.

Most Expensive TV Shows For Advertisers

The number one most expensive television show for advertisers is...Big Bang Theory.

That makes total sense to me. The audience is young, upscale, and smart. A dream audience for advertisers. "The Voice" is #2, but they have a much bigger overall audience. #3 is another smart sitcom, "Modern Family".

Was Media Coverage Fair and Balanced in 2012 Election?

According to a new book that has studied the coverage extenstively, it actually was pretty fair, believe it or not.

Redskins Update

Thanks to "DD" for sending this. I got a kick out of it...

Amy and John Landecker with Bob & Marianne

Amy Landecker, John's daughter, was on the radio yesterday afternoon. And there was another Landecker on the air before the interview was over...

The Radio Stress Dream

I really sympathized with a radio vet who told this story in today's Tom Taylor column. It's about the "radio stress" dream, and it's common dream to just about everyone who has ever worked as a radio disc jockey...

"They are always a variation of being suddenly placed in a new and unfamiliar control room and a record (always vinyl) is nearing an end or the stylus is scratching the label and I can find nothing to play. Either there are no records at all, or the ones I find are scratched beyond use or else they are covered with sticky gunk of some kind. One variation is that the records I find are all stiffs or things totally outside the format that shouldn't be played."

I still have that dream occasionally. It's almost exactly the same as that guy's dream. And I haven't been on the air as a disc jockey since 1993, and haven't played a vinyl record on the air since 1985. I'm sure there's a psychological reason for it, but I don't think I want to know what it is.

RIP Bob Sanders

Bob Sanders of the husband and wife radio team Bob and Betty (WBBM, WCFL), has passed away. Robert Feder has an excellent obit, complete with quotes from people who knew him.

I never met them, but I did interview their producer Steve Dale one time. This is what he said...

"My job was to be Executive Producer; to produce Bob & Betty, and keep an eye on the other shows. Bob and Betty were so much fun. They are the nicest people. They were also a pleasure to work with."

Just so you know, that's not something that is often said about people in the radio business.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Marvin Gaye Singing Without Instruments

This is amazing. The man could sing...

Buzzfeed's Growth Plan

I found this fascinating. An article in the Wall Street Journal entitled: BuzzFeed's Brazen, Nutty Growth Plan. Apparently BuzzFeed can only grow if it expands into other languages, so it needs to translate some of their "articles".

The way they are planning on doing that is the interesting part of the piece:

The site this month will launch versions in French, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. These international sites will be populated with BuzzFeed posts that originally appeared in English, but BuzzFeed won't be using professional translators to create them. Instead, BuzzFeed's posts will be translated by crowds of foreign-language speakers who are learning English using an app called Duolingo. In theory, as part of their coursework, these hordes will translate a BuzzFeed post in a matter of hours—at a quality that rivals that of professional translators, but at the speed, scale and price that you'd get from a machine.

If it works—and BuzzFeed's tests say it does—the effort could prove the utility of something known as human computation, a theory that argues that instead of rivaling one another, machines and humans can get more done by banding together.

In some ways BuzzFeed really bugs me. I don't like the fake ads disguised as articles, and I don't like the cynical way they bring in visitors, but I have to admit I admire them for being innovative.

Study of Web Comment Sections

Study: Facebook Comments Are More Civil Than Newspaper Website Comments

The researchers surmise that because Facebook commenting is not anonymous, people pull back a little with the hateful rhetoric. If that's true, and I believe it is, I may have pruning to do on my facebook friends list. When I read my facebook feed, I see some pretty hateful rhetoric.

The only problem is that most of those people are my actual friends and acquaintances, not just my "facebook" friends. I can't quite pull the trigger on getting rid of them because I still like them personally. I just make a mental note never to talk to them about politics. Ever.

My own facebook page is a politics-free zone.

Like Columbus Did

My annual posting of the only song ever written about Columbus...

Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed

This is thought provoking.

A nurse who spent her time with dying patients, said that these are the five most common regrets she hears from her patients.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Words to ponder, no doubt. Notice what regrets are NOT on the list. No one wishes they had more money. No one wishes they had more fame. When all is said and done, those are life's two emptiest pursuits.

What's in a chicken nugget?

You don't want to know.

I mean, you reeeeeally don't want to know.

But in case you're curious, here's the disturbing autopsy.

Joke for a Monday Morning

Thanks to "DM" for sending this...

A driver was stuck in a traffic jam on the highway outside Washington, DC. Nothing was moving. Suddenly, a man knocks on the window.

The driver rolls down the window and asks, "What's going on?"

"Terrorists have kidnapped the entire US Congress, and they're asking for a $100 million dollar ransom. Otherwise, they are going to douse them all in gasoline and set them on fire. We are going from car to car, collecting donations."

"How much is everyone giving, on average?" the driver asks.

"Roughly a gallon," the man replies.