Friday, August 21, 2015

RIP Harry Volkman

One of the true greats in Chicago media--longtime weatherman Harry Volkman has passed away. He was beloved by Chicago television viewers, but I can tell you that he was even more beloved in the German community. He was our Babe Ruth, and that's no joke. My parents revered him, and so did all of their friends. I got the chance to tell that to Harry himself when our media careers crossed, and he was very gracious about it. I also told his son Eddie, who knew the reality all too well. Just last year the Volkmans (father and son) were invited to tap the keg at Oktoberfest at the Hofbrauhaus in Rosemont.

Deepest condolences to Eddie, and the rest of the Volkman family.

Robert Feder has written a beautiful tribute to Harry. I highly recommend reading it.

Setting a New Bar for Hitting Rock Bottom

I've been to a dog track in Arkansas on a Saturday night with two middle aged friends. I thought that was rock bottom. This is far worse: Being smashed in the face with a plate of sauerkraut at a Ramada Inn in Sarasota.

I pray that I'll never be able to top that.

Happy Birthday Joel!

The Good Luck Charm

I went to the Cubs game with my middle son Johnny last night. It was his 17th career Cubs game. His record is a nearly statistically impossible 16-1.

Bad Lip Reading

These guys just make the political season more fun. The Bad Lip Reading guys are back, and this time they tackle the first Republican debate...

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Chicago's Most Historic Taverns

Rick Kogan, a man I consider Mr. Chicago, is putting together a list of Chicago's Most Historic Taverns for the Chicago Tribune. He nails it with these first five. I've been to all five of them, and they are all worth a visit.

The Beatles at Sox Park

It was 50 years ago today...

Incredibly Sad News

Former Bears quarterback Erik Kramer tried to kill himself yesterday. He shot himself, but survived the suicide attempt. When you read this piece about everything he has been going through, you have to feel for the man. I know that football is really the national sport in this country, but if they don't figure out some way to mitigate the brain trauma, it won't be for long.

Marconi Comes to Chicago

Don't know much about the new night jock at WKQX, but here's the report from RAMP...

Longtime Portland, OR radio personality Marconi is headed to Market No. 3, hired by Cumulus to man the previously unmanned 7-midnight show at Alternative WKQX/Chicago. Marconi most recently co-hosted mornings on Alpha Media Triple A KINK/Portland, OR until October of last year. Prior to that, he was a personality on Westwood One's 24/7 Rock 2.0, but he's best known for his many fine years of service at KNRK and KUFO/Portland.

Actual Radio Wars

Sports Talk Radio has a tendency to get a little emotional. I used to chuckle at the near fisticuffs that went on in Chet Coppock's office among his many producers as they prepped for the show every day. When I questioned them why they got so emotional, they had a one word answer: PASSION.

Of course, that's nothing compared what happened yesterday in Philadelphia. From this morning's Radio Ink...

There's been a lot of coverage of NFL teams fighting during the 2015 pre-season. Two Philadelphia sports talkers nearly became part of that highlight reel. During Eagles training camp, Wednesday, Mike Missanelli from Greater Media's 97.5 The Fanatic and Josh Innes from CBS's 94WIP nearly came to blows and had to be separated by Eagle's security.

According to, Innes said he took off his sunglasses, "looked (Missanelli) straight in the face and said, ‘your show [expletive] sucks.'" Missanelli then moved toward Innes, and Innes backed away, before security stepped in. Missanelli then said, "Yeah, he stepped back and wet himself just like he did months ago. Anybody can be a tough guy behind a microphone."

Not on the NRA website

Two stories on the same day. One is dead, and the other is badly injured.

1. Man accidentally shoots himself while trying to teach his girlfriend gun safety.

2. Man accidentally shoots himself while "protecting" No-Muslims-Allowed Gun Shop in Oklahoma.

Maybe the answer isn't always "we need more guns"

Jared's Plea Deal

How guilty was Jared from the Subway commercials?

This is the plea deal he agreed to: Jared Fogle Will Pay $1.4 Million to 14 Underage Victims, Serve Prison Time and Register as Sex Offender.

How much prison time?
While Fogle's prison sentence is not yet determined, prosecutors say they will not request more than 12.5 years in prison and that Fogle has agreed not to request less than five years...It was unclear this morning how many of those victims were involved in child pornography and how many Fogle is accused of having sex with.
If he considers 5 to 12 1/2 years in prison a good deal, you can only imagine the goods they have on him.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Best Advce Ever

RIP Yvonne Craig

She passed away yesterday at the age of 78. She lives on forever as the original Batgirl...

New Daily Show promo

Big seat to fill...

Da Bears

Is there a town in America that embraces it's offensive lineman more than Chicago? Former offensive lineman Tom Thayer is the color man on all Bears radio broadcasts. Dan Jiggets has been a radio & television fixture in this town for years. (And the late Mike Pyle before him). Jimbo Covert and Jay Hilgenberg are regular contributors to WBBM's pre and post game shows. Long-snapper Patrick Mannely co-hosted a show with Matt Spiegel. And now, Olin Kreuz and Big Cat Williams will be hosting a post game show on the Score.

This is what happens when your team produces zero memorable quarterbacks.

Stephen Colbert

This is a great profile of Stephen Colbert in the latest GQ magazine. In fact, it's one of the best celebrity profiles I've ever read. In-depth, soul-searching, and philosophical. I'm impressed by both Colbert's candor and writer Joel Lovell's insight.

I was at a party this past weekend and the subject of Colbert's upcoming show was a big topic of discussion. Can he reinvent himself? How will he do it? We're all rooting for him, but we're worried how he'll translate to the general public. As for that part of the equation, the following is his analysis of what his late night show will be...

“This show,” he said, meaning The Late Show, “is Chopped. Late-night shows are Chopped. Who are your guests tonight? Your guests tonight are veal tongue, coffee grounds, and gummy bears. There, make a show.… Make an appetizer that appeals to millions of people. That's what I like. How could you possibly do it? Oh, you bring in your own flavors. Your own house band is another flavor. You have your own flavor. The audience itself is a base dish, like a rice pilaf or something. And then together it's ‘Oh shit, that's an actual meal.’ And that's what every day is like at one of these shows. Something is one thing in the morning, and then by the end of the day it's a totally different thing. It's all process.”

Trump Might Want to Read the Constitution

Trump's interview with Bill O'Reilly on Fox News last night was one of the most revealing interviews I've seen of him. O'Reilly questions Trump about his great new immigration plan, and Trump proves that he has no idea what the constitution says or means. Watch Trump's bluster start to fade when O'Reilly calls him on it. You can almost see him realizing in the middle of his answer that he actually might be wrong. He still blusters his way out of it, but it's half-hearted, and O'Reilly doesn't really let him get away with it. When you're a Republican and you're losing O'Reilly, it's only natural to start worrying...

Just for the record, by the way, the 14th amendment says: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Police Academy Zeppelin

Pretty impressive...

Joey and Chandler Weren't Invited to Rachel's Wedding?

Not on the guest list for the recent marriage of Jennifer Aniston: Matt Leblanc and Matthew Perry.

I guess that whole theme song was a lie.

Jeff Bezos Responds to NY Times article

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos didn't take kindly to the NY Times article about the horrible work environment at Amazon and angrily responded in a memo to his workers. The Hollywood Reporter posted his entire memo here. (I'll translate a few of the quotes for you. My comments are in parenthesis)

*"The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day." (7 days a week, 22 hours a day)

*"Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero." (And would somebody please send this perfect example of my mensch-ness to whats-her-name in the hospital? I deleted her contact info when she got sick.)

*"I also encourage you to read this very different take by a current Amazonian:" (And by all means, tell him what you think of this piece in his new corner office)

*"The article goes further than reporting isolated anecdotes. It claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard. Again, I don’t recognize this Amazon. (That's why the beatings will continue until morale improves. Get it? That's a joke. Don't EVER say I don't joke again)

*"I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay." (But just so you know, those non-compete clauses will cost you a few hundred Gs to litigate in court.)

New Cubs Song

Not a bad effort! I'm not quite here yet emotionally (trying to stay realistic), but I agree with the sentiment.

20 Overrated Bands/Musicians

Scene magazine did a nice piece on the most overrated bands and musicians. I like about six of the bands/musicians on this list, but I will agree they are overrated. On the other hand, one group clearly does NOT belong on the list: The Police.

Their first three albums are still amazing thirty-plus years later...

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Origin of "Cool"

I've always wondered where and when that word gained its slang stature.

This article explains it.

Check it out. It's cool.

Woodstock Remembered

Buzzfeed has some great photos of the original Woodstock music festival from August 15-17, 1969.

I've seen a few of these photos before (especially the ones of the performers), but to me the most interesting photos are of the crowd. (AP Photo below)

Around the Publishing World (August 17)

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. Ebooks Are Changing the Way We Read
The Guardian has a great article about how eBooks are not only changing the way we read, but also how authors write.

2. 6 Tips for getting your self-published book reviewed
We happen to be in the "you really don't have to get it reviewed" camp, but if it's important to you, it's not impossible at all for self-published writers to get reviewed. There are a few good tips in this article.

3. Chicago Book Review
For authors in Chicago, there is always Chicago Book Review. We've had several of our books reviewed by this site. Of course, there's no guarantee it will be a positive review, but we've found them to be quite fair. They are obviously Chicago-centric. Here's their mission statement: "Our mission at Chicago Book Review is to highlight local and regional authors and publishers as well as books that tackle Chicago and the Midwest as subject matter, regardless of genre." They are also publishing a Fall 2015 preview which includes information (not reviews) about new releases coming from local houses and/or local authors and/or books that tackle local subject matter. Their deadline is August 31st to be included in the Fall Preview. E-mail them at

4. Indie City Book Fair August 30
It's been our experience that you won't sell a lot of books at book fairs, but this one sounds a little different. The Indie City Book Fair will be on Sunday Aug. 30 from noon to 5 at 1448 E. 57th Street in Chicago. Authors are invited to come, take over half a table, invite all their friends, family and fans and give a reading. It could be a cheap way to throw a book launch party. They are only asking for a $35 fee (not a percentage of the book sales), and are scheduling 30 minute windows.

5. Working at Amazon is like living in "Lord of the Flies"
To know Amazon well is to fear the eventual demise of our civilization. Yes, you need to sell on amazon (especially e-books), but Amazon's business practices are apalling. They really take advantage of authors and publishers, but their "eat it--where else are you gonna go" attitude is not confined only towards to their vendors. According to this piece in the New York Times, Amazon is also a horrible place to work. It takes the concept of survival of the fittest to ridiculous extremes. Enjoy your time working there--just watch your back because your co-workers are encouraged to squeal on you, and don't get sick.


My old Loop colleague Dave Benson has a new gig. From Chicagoland Radio & Media...

Radio industry veteran Dave Benson has a new job. Benson has joined Local Voice Media as its Vice President of Programming. He had been working with the company as a consultant most recently. Local Voice Media operates radio stations and newspapers in four markets in Virginia and the Carolinas. Longtime local radio fans will remember Dave Benson's many years in Chicago at WMET-FM, WLUP-FM, and WXRT-FM (twice), where he worked as producer, Music Director, and DJ.