Monday, December 28, 2015
This has been my tenth full year of this blog, and the fourth year in a row there were more than a million hits.
I can't believe I've lasted so long in the saddle here, but I will be back for year 11 beginning on January 4th. Thanks for all your support and kindness over the years.
Looking forward to eventful 2016! Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
In German the phrase "Du kriegst nichts" means "You get nothing". To the German ear, "Christmas" sounds like "Kriegst nichts", so every year he would say: "Merry Kriegst nichts!" Get it? Always got a big laugh with the German crowd.
(Photo: Sumner Redstone). Every time I read about this, I think to myself...Sumner's DAUGHTER Shari is the Vice Chairman, but the CEO Philippe Dauman is his health care guardian instead of Shari. That's so intensely weird and sad.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Full details are here in the New York Times.
They simply drive around the White House grounds in Jerry's 1963 Corvette, talking about what it's like to be a president. Can you tell it's getting toward the end of Obama's presidency? Now he's just doing stuff that sounds like it would be fun. I don't blame him.
Monday, December 21, 2015
This video is a montage of his Chicago photographs from this past year. It's my kind of town. Thanks Barry!
Steve Harvey, the MC of the pageant, saw that the card in his hand said "Miss Colombia" so he announced her as the winner. He was actually supposed to announce her as the Runner Up.
You can see it here.
I liked Star Wars too, but I got even more excited about this news.
A Space Balls sequel is in the works too. For real. May the Schwarz be with you.
(I know Darth Vader isn't in this one, but it's the only Star Wars picture in my archives. I use it for Dick Cheney and Rupert Murdoch)
On Saturday night he hung out at SNL. Just as a fan, not as a performer. Although, in the closing segment as Bruce Springsteen sang "Santa Claus is Coming To Town", Paul hopped on stage to sing along.
On Sunday he went to see a Brooklyn Nets basketball game. They shot a t-shirt into the stands, and Paul caught it. The full story is here.
Even in his free time, Paul is the man.
“When they tell you that your contract is not being renewed, that means you’re fired. I can’t think of any other interpretation to give to that: ‘We don’t want you working here. Your contract will not be renewed.’ That means you’re fired.”
Friday, December 18, 2015
Gawker has more details.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
We stay on top of happenings/trends in the publishing world to help out busy writers who are spending their time doing what they should be doing: writing.
1. Make your book a best seller
We would normally never post something with a headline like that, but this article actually has some great advice. It's easier than you think. You just need to find the right category.
2. Book Blurbing tips
You probably know Malcolm Gladwell as a best selling author, but did you also know that Malcolm Gladwell is the king of the book blurb? He's done tons of them. Posted a link to this article because when you become an author you'll be asked to blurb too. There's definitely an art to it, and Gladwell does it well.
3. James Patterson teaches writing
If you're a writer, you've probably already seen this in your facebook or twitter feeds, but just in case you haven't, and you're interested, check out the video below.
4. A perfect present for the writer or editor in your family
If they don't have the Chicago Manual of Style yet, it's a must-have book in every writer's or editor's library. This link will take you to a way to purchase the online version, which is a subscription service. Easily searchable and right at your fingertips when you need it.
5. A little writer humor
Thanks to "AG" for sending this. I'm going to try to remember a few of these next time I need them. If you hate awkward silence as much as I do, at least these'll get the other person talking...
Congrats to the new members. Here are a few of my favs from the rockers...
Since Garry Meier this week publicly announced his new plans, I have received a host of inquiries from listeners asking if I am involved in this new venture. I am not. The fact is, earlier this year, Garry professionally parted ways with me. It was handled in a professional manner. No fireworks. No harsh words. No ill will. Just a change in creative direction, which a Hall of Fame broadcaster like Garry Meier has every right to make. It was a reality I had to accept. Therefore, when our contracts expired in October, I began to pursue new radio opportunities on my own.
If you’re disappointed we won’t be working together, you can add me to the list. When the show we did was removed, it was extremely popular thanks to a legion of loyal listeners, and it was hitting a new creative stride. But Garry certainly has earned the right and respect to take whatever creative path he chooses. I am proud to have worked with him for six years, and to have helped create consistently fun, entertaining, and memorable radio. I thank him for the enormous opportunity he gave me and I wish him luck in the future.
My future is taking the lessons I learned from Garry and moving forward, which -- at least for the next couple of weeks -- includes doing some fill-in work at WGN Radio on December 20 and 28, and January 1, all from 2am – 5am. I guarantee it will be fun, informative, and unique radio that will be well worth staying up for – I hope you’ll join me!
I do think he's a solid choice to host the White House Correspondents Dinner, however. He was named the host yesterday.
I was one of them, although it was an incredibly depressing show. With one candidate suggesting we kill the families of terrorists (women and children), and another candidate suggesting we start World War III (by shooting down Russian jets), a third candidate favoring carpet bombing without really understanding what that meant, and another honestly believing that political correctness was the reason we haven't defeated ISIS yet, it felt more like a two-hour-long SNL "Jeopardy" bit.
Except it wasn't a bit. People were cheering those statements. For real. Unironically. That may not depress you, but it depresses the heck out of me.
When I was in college there were a few times I prayed to the God of porcelain, but it wasn't exactly something I looked forward to, if you know what I mean. People in Japan, on the other hand, have a real love affair with things that flush. Their toilet technology is miles ahead of ours.
Now they even have a toilet museum. No joke.
The Washington Post has the details.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
French Superstar Michel Platini is about to get suspended for several years after it was revealed that he accepted a suspicious 1.3 million pounds payment from FIFA Chairman Sepp Blatter just days before his election. Deadspin has the details if you are so inclined. (My link generator isn't working right now for some reason, but here's the URL of the Deadspin piece: http://screamer.deadspin.com/michel-platini-facing-lengthy-fifa-ban-will-boycott-e-1748298825)
Michael Jackson's landmark 1982 LP Thriller has officially become the first LP to be recognized for selling 30 million copies. The Recording Industry Association of America, in association with the singer's estate and record labels, confirmed the news Wednesday. The record has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, they reported, and claimed that Jackson had sold 1 billion albums total.
I can finally listen to the songs on that album without going into convulsions. I was a bar DJ when it came out (in Champaign-Urbana), and every five minutes a sorority girl would open up my booth door and scream "Play 'Beat It'" or "Play 'Billy Jean'".
"But ma'am, I just played it a few minutes ago."
"PLAY IT AGAIN!"
I'll post the video for you today, but I won't post it again.
Here's her Donald Trump review, for instance...
Why the f**k not? He was 100 percent Trump, 100 percent of the time. Sarah Palin word salad in a baggy suit and spray-on tan, he plans to govern via reaction GIF.
He talks about foreign policy like the guy who gives directions to the taxi driver, loudly and slowly in case the driver doesn’t speak English. Doesn’t tip. Wants to kill innocent people and shut down the Internet, not necessarily in that order. Has been accused of not knowing what “the nuclear triad” is, but, on the other hand: “The power and the devastation are very important to me.”
Overall: Dogs**t ground into your living room carpet.
They have cut the staff down to the bone--there's nothing more to cut. They have made every synergistic move they can make within clusters and clusters of clusters. They have renamed and rebranded the company. They have cut rates to get bigger percentages of the local media buys, and in so doing, have cut the number of dollars going into radio at all. That is bringing down (or at the very least damaging) other companies too.
But they haven't made a dent into the debt. It currently stands at $21 billion. That's billion with a B.
How bad is it? Even the New York Post (Page Six, no less) is reporting on it. Specifically, they take shots at CEO Bob Pittman's extravagant spending, and his complete inability to effectively change course.
"$everance" ten years ago. At that time, the industry was crumbling and I could see the writing on the wall. That novel was a cry for help for the business as a whole. I wanted to point out to everyone (in the most ridiculous--and hopefully funny way) how bad it really was, and the ridiculous direction it was heading. I'm afraid to say the media business has exceeded my every expectation...and gotten even worse than I ever imagined.
It has no hope of getting better as long as these huge conglomerates run it. Despite being huge, they don't have the resources to fix what needs to be fixed because of the debt. They can't invest in the future.
I really believed that one day they would just cut bait and run. That's what you do with real estate that turns out to be a bad investment. You suck it up, and take a loss. Then you write off the loss. I thought for sure it would happen with radio. I figured that, eventually, local broadcasters would buy these stations for a song, and would create what needed to be created: a local medium that serves the local audience.
Obviously, I was wrong. A decision has been made that stations cannot be sold for a huge loss, which simply means they cannot be sold at all because they were bought at ridiculously inflated prices that will never ever return.
So...they just wait for the end. Each of the executives who created this problem will walk away with their millions (many already have), and they will play their fiddles as Rome burns.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
As I examined the media landscape, I decided to do something that a great friend and mentor told me to do ten years ago…go onto the internet…and while I wasn’t ready to make the leap a decade ago, I thought the time is right now to go digital, since everything in the media world is migrating there. It is migration that just about every state will accept. At this point in my career, I want to try something completely new that offers me more control and freedom and also is the wave of the future.
While gas prices remain low, my excitement heading into this new chapter is very high. Another familiar voice will be part of the broadcast, as Leslie Keiling returns to do news. I’m happy to have her join me.
It might not be the way you listened on traditional radio but breaking away from all of that, I think, is a good thing…so hello from the 50 trillion-watt WIFI.
This web site will be changing and evolving as we go along, so check back often. There will be other fun things offered in the future to explore.
The launch date will happen in the early part of 2016 so stay tuned for more details and postings.
As always, I welcome your input and support on this 21st century journey.
A former companion of the 92-year-old media mogul Sumner M. Redstone, who is challenging Mr. Redstone’s mental competence, claimed in a legal filing that a declaration provided to the court by the chief executive of Viacom was “riddled with falsehoods.” The declaration stated that Mr. Redstone was “engaged and attentive.”
Mr. Redstone’s former companion, Manuela Herzer, also claimed that Mr. Redstone’s signature had been forged on a November document, providing testimony from a handwriting expert in the more than 200 pages filed on Monday with the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Doggone it. I promised myself I would never feel sorry for this guy (after reading his unbelievably greedy and evil thoughts in his autobiography), but I can't help it. This is pathetic. He has living family you know. And yet his "ex-girlfriend" and his CEO are fighting over his medical care, and you can actually see the vultures on each of their shoulders.
Monday, December 14, 2015
You can still get your copy before Christmas here.
Last week it was Last Call with Carson Daly. (John was there for that taping...and is mentioned by Amy)
This weekend it was Business Insider.
I caught up with John the other day. Hadn't talked to him in a few weeks. He has been spending a lot of time out in LA with Amy, helping babysit her daughter, and just hanging out there. He was her date at the Emmys. He joined her for a trip to Washington, where they got a private White House tour. Heady stuff. Both John and Amy seem really happy these days, and I'm happy for them. Good people.
With the new movie opening up this week, the Tribune went over to his Star Wars lair and had a chat with him.
You can read it here.
Jimmy and I worked together at the Loop a thousand years ago. He was on Kevin Matthews' show at the time, and I worked for Steve & Garry. Jimmy later spent many years as part of Johnny B's show. (We're also in the same baseball fantasy league--but don't tell anyone. Our wives mock us mercilessly for that)
They have been "fact checking" since 2007, and listed every politician that they've tested so far. On a percentage basis, the biggest liars have been Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz. The most truthful (and this is a low bar indeed) have been Barack Obama, Martin O'Malley, and Bill Clinton (and they have been untruthful many times)
I'm sure some people will say that these fact checkers are biased (New York Times! Left wing bias!), because we live in a world where even fact checking isn't trusted as long as it doesn't match the reader's already pre-conceived notions of the truth. In another time and place we may actually be able to live in a world where actual facts matter. That time is not now, and that place is not here.
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Here's a small excerpt...
It was hard to watch the way he treated those around him, issuing peremptory orders—“Polish this, Tony. Today.” He met with the lady who selected his drapery for the Florida estate—“The best! The best! She’s a genius!”—who had selected a sampling of fabrics for him to choose from, all different shades of gold. He left the choice to her, saying only, “I want it really rich. Rich, rich, elegant, incredible.” Then, “Don’t disappoint me.” It was a pattern. Trump did not make decisions. He surrounded himself with “geniuses” and delegated. So long as you did not “disappoint” him—and it was never clear how to avoid doing so—you were gold.
What was clear was how fast and far one could fall from favor. The trip from “genius” to “idiot” was a flash. The former pilots who flew his plane were geniuses, until they made one too many bumpy landings and became “fucking idiots.” The gold carpeting selected in his absence for the locker rooms in the spa at Mar-a-Lago? “What kind of fucking idiot . . . ?” I watched as Trump strutted around the beautifully groomed clay tennis courts on his estate, managed by noted tennis pro Anthony Boulle. The courts had been prepped meticulously for a full day of scheduled matches. Trump took exception to the design of the spaces between courts. In particular, he didn’t like a small metal box—a pump and cooler for the water fountain alongside—which he thought looked ugly. He first questioned its placement, then crudely disparaged it, then kicked the box, which didn’t budge, and then stooped—red-faced and fuming—to tear it loose from its moorings, rupturing a water line and sending a geyser to soak the courts. Boulle looked horrified, a weekend of tennis abruptly drowned. Catching a glimpse of me watching, Trump grimaced.
Friday, December 11, 2015
I went over to Jason Heyward's Twitter feed, and I think it's safe to say that the Cardinals fans are a little upset. My deepest apologies for the language. I tried to (believe it or not) stay away from the really bad ones...
Go fuck your own asshole with a cactus you bitch ass bitch @JasonHeyward— ™ (@Tmoser5) December 11, 2015
fuckin twat ! fuck off judas heyward— Waino is Bueno (@Barneyrme) December 11, 2015
I want to die. Fuck heyward and fuck the cubs. I will burn wrigley to the god damn ground.— VolleyBabe69 (@mike__eh) December 11, 2015
@JasonHeyward Your a piece of shit douchefuck— Ethan (@ethancarter_23) December 11, 2015
For signing with the Cubs Jason Heyward I hope you get Lou Gehrigs— Seth Patterson (@patterson_seth) December 11, 2015
PLEASE TEAR YOUR ACL OR SOMETHING I HEAR THOSE CHICAGO HOSPITALS ARE REAL NICE @JasonHeyward— Clemson's punter (@jtmurphy26) December 11, 2015
@JasonHeyward I hope someone throws it at your face again you greedy piece of shit.— clay jarrell (@cgjcards) December 11, 2015
Best fans in baseball, right?
Read Rick Kaempfer's book, Father Knows Nothing, today during jury duty. It's a collection of stories about his family of three boys. People kept turning around to see why I would just bust out laughing!! I loved it and could totally relate (especially about the bribe to keep the kids from fighting - brilliant!). Great gift idea for anyone with multiple boys.
You can read more about that here.) Italian counterterror police intercepted phone calls made by the suspect where he used the word "truffles" as a code word for "bombs." The villain in my book Truffle Hunt is also a terrorist who wants to start an ethnic war in Croatia. Of all the crazy and outlandish things I made up for my novel, I never thought this one would come to pass.
FATHER KNOWS NOTHING By Rick Kaempfer (e-book: $5.99)
Our Top Selling Book Last Christmas!
An actual amazon reader review from this 5-star book: "The moment I opened up Father Knows Nothing, by Rick Kaempfer (Eckhartz Press, 2014) and started to scan the uproariously funny, yet heartfelt radio transcripts, contained within the introduction, I knew instantly that I was not going to be able to put this book down! Never in my life has any book moved me to roll on the floor with uproarious laugher, while simultaneously tugging at the heart in profound, meaningful ways that required an entire box of Kleenex. This book is a sparkling diamond, whether or not you have children of your own, this literary gem is a must-read book."
RECORDS TRULY IS MY MIDDLE NAME by John Records Landecker and Rick Kaempfer (e-book: $8.49)
Our Best Selling Book of All Time!
An actual amazon reader review from this award-winning book: "I have read lots of autobiographies, and this is one of the BEST ones I have EVER read. From the moment I received this book, I could not put it down. This book will make you laugh, cry, and shake your head in disbelief at the interesting and colorful life Mr. Landecker has lived. Like all of us, he's made mistakes, but he's learned from them, and he is a better person for it. He has shared some very personal things in this book. He went full tilt & totally uncensored with it when he wrote it-some of the things were good, some of them were bad, and some of them were OMG!"
THE BALDING HANDBOOK by David Stern (e-book: $5.49)
An Amazon Best-Seller!
An actual amazon reader review from our top selling e-book: "What a great book for both those with or without hair. While I enjoy the fact that I have a full head of hair that I have to maintain, I found myself sympathizing with those who are struggling in life. We tend to put struggles on those who are hungry, poor, etc, but how can we improve as a society unless we acknowledge that those who are bald also need help. Great read! Loved it!"
HUGH HEFNER'S FIRST FUNERAL AND OTHER TRUE TALES OF LOVE AND DEATH IN CHICAGO by Pat Colander (e-book: $5.95)
Our Brand New Book!
A review from esteemed writer Denise DeClue: "Pat Colander toiled with me in the belly of the Chicago journalism beast in the 1970s and 1980s. When major stories were reported, she asked questions. When the questions were poorly answered or evaded, she asked even more questions of even more people. Then in a clear, true voice, she wrote it all down. She found the real stories behind the stories and this collection of her work is just great. She ought to be long-listed for the Man Booker prize."
BRANDWIDTH: HOW BIG BROADCASTING IS MISSING THE MEDIAMORPHOSIS by Kipper McGee (e-book: $5.99)
A 2015 Release!
An actual amazon reader review from this highly rated book: "This is a smart book written by a smart man, who clearly understands where media has been and where it's going. At times, Kipper takes the broad view ("if the broadcasting industry dies, it will be ruled a suicide."), at other times he takes the reader straight to new century basics ("if you operate a small business, if you haven't already, CREATE A DATABASE"). While this is a book about media, it's also a smart business book with applications that transcend radio, cable, tv, etc. Read it and learn."
TRUFFLE HUNT by Brent Petersen (e-book: $5.99)
A 2015 Release!
An actual amazon reader review from this 5-star book: "Yes - I loved it. What a **fun** read. I found it to be a 'page-turner' and stayed up into the wee hours to finish in two sittings. "Truffle Hunt" is way more that a 'foodie' book, which some may have assumed. For the history buff, there is a compelling and complex story of the troubled Istria region with all of the wars, ethnic cleansing, purges and resulting current simmering resentments that would naturally remain. For the culture buff, there are the story threads of family traditions and love of the land that create such a vibrant sense of place. For the foodies, yes, there is abundant detail about what makes food truly 'great', and how the creation and sharing of magnificent food is as much the salvation of a people as having their land and an ability to make a living. Then, of course, there is the unique story of the truffle itself and the astounding subculture of the harvesting and the marketing of such a treasure. Buy this book and be ready to Enjoy!!
THE LIVING WILLS by Brendan Sullivan and Rick Kaempfer (e-book: $3.99)
Our Best Selling Novel Ever!
An actual amazon reader review of this widely praised book: "I just finished reading Living Wills and absolutely LOVED it! I could barely put it down - read it in less than 48 hours! I'm a pretty avid reader and this one of the best stories I have ever read and the telling of it is simply superb. If you're from Chicago, you'll enjoy it even more. It somewhat reminded me of The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Alboms, which I liked, but this is a better story, better read and I enjoyed it so much more. If Albom can achieve bestseller status there is no reason this shouldn't too as it's better. Definitely now one of my favorite books and I will be highly recommending it! I can't wait for your next book to come out. Congratulations on a fine piece of work, I hope someone makes a movie out of it :)"
BACK IN THE GAME & MY MAGGIE by Rich King (e-books: $5.99 each)
The Complete Rich King Collection!
An actual amazon reader review from My Maggie: "My Maggie was an inspirational book. How Maggie fought against deafness, blindness, and cancer, not only to survive, but to attain a college degree, is amazing. Rich King stuck by her and his marriage vows, which seems to be uncommon now. Rich King writes about his struggles with being a caregiver while maintaining employment, as well his struggle with religion and questions about God. I believe that the challenges Maggie faced caused him to have these doubts, but I believe in the end, after Maggie finally gave up her fight, Rich King may have developed faith and a connection with God and the belief in the eternity. My Maggie will bring tears to your eyes, but will also leave you feeling motivated and inspired."
An actual amazon reader review of Back in the Game: "Very well done. Rich King writes warmly and candidly about a difficult subject. Shares many interesting insights into his personal and professional lives."
THE DALY NEWS by Joel Daly (e-book: $4.99)
A Chicago Broadcasting Icon!
An actual amazon reader review: "A good short read for Chicago TV fans...Learned more about Joel Daly than I ever knew. Summa cum laude Yale grad, Chicago broadcaster at WLS TV from 1967 to 2005 and later life student who went back to law school at age 50 and worked as an attorney while still on the air."
BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE: DIARY OF A WRIGLEY FIELD USHER by Bruce Bohrer (e-book: $5.99)
A Must for all Cub Fans!
An actual Amazon reader review: "Wonderful tell-all, great insider information :) A fun read! As a CUB fan, Great! Knew some of the ushers."
CHEESELAND and LOST IN THE IVY by Randy Richardson (e-books: $2.99 and $3.99)
The Complete Randy Richardson Collection!
An actual amazon reader review of Cheeseland: "Cheeseland is a poignant and often funny account of friendship lost and friendship found, and the healing of old wounds. It's a nail-biting ride along with Danny and Lance as they ditch their graduation and take a road trip to Wisconsin where they drink beer legally (sort of), encounter some eccentric people, and confront demons of the past. A quick, engaging read with authentic and relatable characters."
An actual amazon reader review of Lost in the Ivy: "This is the perfect contemporary mystery. It has three-dimensional characters, innovative plot twists, cryptic hints, and an unpredictable, nail-biter of a conclusion. Not to mention the love/sex/profession subplots, all against a highly detailed backdrop of Chicago and Wrigleyville from someone who clearly knows and loves them well."
LIFE BEHIND THE CAMERA by Chuck Quinzio (e-book: $9.99)
An inside-local-television-news masterpiece!
An actual amazon reader review of this 5-star book: "Compelling, interesting, scary and very very funny. Chuck has seen it all and doesn't hold back. Buy it, money well spent!"
RECALLED TO LIFE by Dan Burns (e-book: $5.99)
A wonderful father-son story!
An actual amazon reader review of this novel: "When it comes to what is important the answer is really best found in how you spend your time. If you examine that we are able to get a great picture as to what really matters to you and what you have given your heart to. Dan Burns reminds us of what really matters in this thoughtful yet entertaining novel, and I think you will not only resonate with the characters but see a piece of yourself in them as well."