Friday, February 05, 2016


What is a TRUS? From Google...

"A transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) is an ultrasound technique that is used to view a man's prostate and surrounding tissues. The ultrasound transducer (probe) sends sound waves through the wall of the rectum into the prostate gland, which is located directly in front of the rectum."

Now look at Ted Cruz' logo again...

Can't take credit for discovering that. It was sent to me by "JF", who found it at the Daily Kos. I make no political judgements. Just thought it was funny.

You Just Can't Trust Hired Killers Anymore

This story in the Washington Post is amazing. I can't do it justice with a recap. Check out this incredibly well-written lede...

Noela Rukundo sat in a car outside her home, watching as the last few mourners filed out. They were leaving a funeral — her funeral. Finally, she spotted the man she’d been waiting for. She stepped out of her car, and her husband put his hands on his head in horror.

“Is it my eyes?” she recalled him saying. “Is it a ghost?”

“Surprise! I’m still alive!” she replied.

Far from being elated, the man looked terrified. Five days earlier, he had ordered a team of hit men to kill Rukundo, his partner of 10 years. And they did — well, they told him they did. They even got him to pay an extra few thousand dollars for carrying out the crime. Now here was his wife, standing before him. In an interview with the BBC on Thursday, Rukundo recalled how he touched her shoulder to find it unnervingly solid. He jumped. Then he started screaming.

Read the article to see the rest of the story. It's really something.

New Zealand Politics

Our politicians are often mocked, heckled, and booed, but they take it to another level in New Zealand.

Watch this politician get hit with a dildo during a press conference.

Not sure exactly what the point is, but I did get a kick out of it.

Sir Van Morrison

This has to be a strange feeling for these old rockers. They spend their whole lives as rebels...and then they get a call from Buckingham Palace. You, sir, are now a knight.

Van Morrison was so honored yesterday. From the BBC...
The 70-year-old said he had a brief chat with Prince Charles as he received his award and was asked about his future plans.

"He was just saying, was I still writing? And he said: 'You're not going to retire any time soon?' And I said: 'No, I'm not, I'm going to keep it going while I can'."

Asked if fans could still call him Van The Man now that he has a knighthood, the singer laughed and said "Well, take your pick".

Morrison grew up in Belfast, where his father, a shipyard worker, was said to have had one of the best record collections in the city.

I will never tire of listening to Morrison's incredible vocals...

Megyn Kelly's $10 Million Book Deal

That's not a typo in the headline. Megyn Kelly seriously just signed a $10 million book deal to write her memoirs.

She should send at least a portion of that to Donald Trump, shouldn't she?

Beatles Meme

This one comes from "WB". I agree wholeheartedly...

No words necessary

Thanks to "DM" for this one...

RIP Maurice White

Another one is gone too soon. Maurice White was the leader of Earth, Wind & Fire. He was only 74 years old.

This one is my favorite Earth, Wind, & Fire song...for obvious reasons.

Strange story about Maurice White involving John Records Landecker. In the 70s when Earth, Wind & Fire was at their peak, Landecker was doing a segment called "Boogie Check" every night on WLS Radio. It involved answering the phones in rapid-fire fashion while unscreened teenagers would say whatever came to their mind. In the 90s John met the leader of the Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan. Corgan said: "John Landecker! I used to call Boogie Check when I was kid--pretending to be Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire." True story. (It's in the book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name")

As the Sumner Turns

Another day, another chairmanship taken away from the aging ailing Sumner Redstone. From the RAMP Newsletter...

Less than 24 hours after the ailing Sumner Redstone resigned as Chairman of CBS Corporation and handed those reins over to CBS Pres. & CEO Les Moonves, the company announced that Redstone has also relinquished his Chairmanship of Viacom, Inc., passing the baton to his longtime colleague, Viacom President & CEO Philippe Dauman. Redstone now assumes the role of Viacom Chairman Emeritus, the same role he now inhabits at CBS. Whatever transpired behind closed doors in yesterday's Viacom Board meeting obviously overruled yesterday's highly publicized objections from Redstone's daughter, Non-Executive Vice Chair Shari Redstone, who, along with Dauman, are among the seven members of a trust that will eventually inherit Sumner Redstone's shares in National Amusements, the umbrella company through which he runs both CBS and Viacom. On Wednesday Shari commented, "It is my firm belief that whoever may succeed my father as chair at each company should be someone who is not a trustee of my father's trust or otherwise intertwined in Redstone family matters, but rather a leader with an independent voice." According to an account in Variety, while Sumner Redstone "voted" (Rick's note: my quotes) in favor of Dauman's elevation at yesterday's board meeting, Shari Redstone did not. She was the only dissenting member of the board, said a source familiar with the proceedings.

Looks like Sumner's daughter doesn't trust Dauman either, but then again, her feelings toward her father are "complicated" at best. Remember, Dauman was chosen to be her father's guardian instead of her--which is profoundly weird. I'm not prone to sympathy or empathy when it comes to Sumner Redstone because of his life-long ruthless and unrepetant greed...but I can't help it. I feel sorry for the old vegetable. It's a real-life "Rosebud" Citizen Kane ending, isn't it?

Is Ron Magers Retiring?

Robert Feder reports this morning that insiders at Channel 7 (WLS-TV) are saying that Ron Magers will be announcing his retirement...

Insiders at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 said Magers, 71, could step down as soon as this summer, if all goes as planned. The move is believed to be entirely voluntary by Magers, who’s widely regarded as the best in the business and still at the top of his game.

You can read the whole article here.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Bill Cochran interview: Great Moments in Vinyl

Bill Cochran has been one of the great radio production voices in Chicago for decades (WXRT, WNUA), but he is also the leader of Great Moments in Vinyl. It's a unique project to say the least. He and his band perform great albums from rock history from beginning to end. On Tuesday night February 23rd, they are performing Tom Petty's "Damn the Torpedoes" and "Full Moon Fever" at Martrys in Chicago. (Ticket information below). Last night I got a chance to chat with him about the band and the show...

Tell the story of how you came up with the idea for this project.

Bill: Great Moments in Vinyl is the culmination of a lot of things. The earliest origins can be traced to my passion for music pure and simple. I’ve been listening to music in all its shapes and forms my entire life, and I love sharing songs I’m excited about with other people.

About six years ago I started hanging out at The Old Town School of Folk Music, and I found myself surrounded by all these amazing musicians who were teaching classes there—on Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Steely Dan—and it occurred to me that since they knew how to play all this different music, maybe I could build a series of shows with these talented people. So for each new Great Moments in Vinyl performance, I ask around my circle of musicians for ideas about whom to recruit for the lineup for each show. I work quite regularly with guitarist Richard Pettengill who to my knowledge has never met a riff he cannot play. I also turn frequently to vocalist/guitarist aerin tedesco for musical ideas and personnel suggestions. There’s a regular roster of musicians I’ve brought on board as we’ve gone along. But I also make it a point of recruiting people I’ve never worked with before for each new show in order to help spread the word about the band throughout the music scene and to bring new fans to the performances.

And then there’s the storytelling aspect of these shows. I’ve been to too many gigs where the band has gotten the crowd in their corner, but then they take so long to get the next song going, the audience starts chatting or moving around or ordering drinks. I figured I could fill that time with stories about the songs and the artists and hold the crowd’s attention as well as give them insights about the music they were listening to. And really, the stories do give you a new appreciation of the music. Like learning that on Led Zeppelin’s second album, Robert Plant composed lyrics about a woman he was wrestling over whether or not to have an affair with. One difficulty was that he was married at the time. But the more major obstacle might have been that the woman in question was his wife’s younger sister.

“What Is and What Should Never Be” indeed!

How else is it different from a typical bar cover band experience?

Bill: I think of ourselves as fans of the albums we play. And when we get onstage, we’re just sharing our excitement for those songs with other fans of those albums. It reminds me of growing up listening to records with my friends. When the singer or the guitarist did something cool, you’d look at each other and go, “Whoa! Did you hear that?”

So that passion is what I hope we convey first and foremost. We don’t try to replicate the albums note for note and nuance for nuance. Because then you’re inviting the audience to listen for the places you don’t get it right. Instead we want our crowds to get caught up on how cool it is to hear these songs live.

The major difference, though, is that a Great Moments in Vinyl show is a narrated concert. You’ll hear the songs you remember from an album performed with passion. But you’ll also learn a thing or two that’ll make you hear the music in a new way. We haven’t done a Joni Mitchell show yet, but one of her songs from Hejira sticks with me because it was written about a friend who at that point in the ‘70s had gotten married and started a family. At the time the record came out, it seemed like a fanciful bit of wistfulness about what it might have been like to settle down. We come to find decades later that Ms. Mitchell had herself given birth to a child when she was young and given it up for adoption. And suddenly “Song for Sharon” becomes a much more poignant reflection on the road not taken.

How do you decide on an artist (generally) and what made you pick these two Tom Petty albums specifically?

Bill: In the past, it’s been as simple as asking amongst ourselves, “Well, what album would you like to do?”

I’d spent two years rehearsing prog rock songs in a friend’s basement with no performances to show for it so that inspired me to put together a Pink Floyd set (that I loosely referred to as before and after Dark Side of the Moon): Meddle and Wish You Were Here.

Sometimes a chance remark or spontaneous groove will pave the way to a future show. While rehearsing for one of our R. E. M. sets, I happened to pick out the bass riff to “Walking on the Moon.” Our drummer joined right in and said that if we ever wanted to perform The Police, count him in. So two shows later, we did.

Then, at one of those Police rehearsals, vocalist Peter Andreadis threw out the idea of doing a Michael Jackson show someday. When I got the idea to hire some dancers for the dance floor to take that set to the next level, we started making plans for an Off the Wall/Thriller concert that fall.

This year, we’re exploring the idea of inviting established artists to step into the spotlight for the shows that we brainstorm together. Chicago singer Phil Angotti is bringing his Tom Petty tribute experience to our upcoming Damn the Torpedoes/Full Moon Fever show. Then in March, the duo Congress of Starlings (aerin tedesco and Andrea Bunch) will make our Indigo Girls show come together.

And of course, there’s a little common sense applied to our choices, too. We take a look at how well an album has sold. And whether or not it really has enough songs on it that would be familiar to an audience. And fun to play.

How much rehearsal time is needed for each show?

Bill: Ha! That’s hard to answer! No matter how many times we get together, I always wish we could have one more run through.

Any favorites?

Oh, man! After two and half years of performances and something like 17 completely different shows, there have been so many amazing highlights. Working with a small string section to play the Paul Buckmaster arrangements for the Elton John albums we did. Having our lead singer aerin tedesco surprise the audience by shaving her head completely for our Sinéad O’Connor performance. Hearing singer Judith Weirauch belt out the Janis Joplin vocal to “Ball and Chain.” Rehearsing the Police album Synchronicity and getting to hear guest vocalist Miki Greenberg's over the top performance of “Mother” for the first time. (There comes a time in every series of rehearsals when we realize that we’re going have a great show to present. And for the Police rehearsals, that was the moment.) The first time we ran through our Janis Joplin set with a horn section (for the Kozmic Blues numbers) we all got chills. Playing "Moonlight Mile” live (with strings, of course) to close out our Rolling Stones show. But probably one of the best moments in this whole series was when we did Michael Jackson’s Thriller on Halloween week. As the title track kicked into high gear, the zombie dancers appeared and the place went nuts!

And those are just the performance highlights. I’m so invested in the power of the storytelling aspect of every show that I’m especially gratified when the tales I tell about the artist and the music hit home. Feeling the audience wince when I introduced Sinéad O’Connor’s “Black Boys on Mopeds,” a song about racially motivated police brutality in 1980s Britain, by dedicating it to Freddie Gray of Baltimore, Maryland, and Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner of New York City, and Tamir Rice of Cleveland, Ohio, and others.

Or sensing their simpatico when I talked about Patti Smith writing her album Horses for the “alienated teenagers, sensitive waifs, and artistic misfits,” the people who discovered that record when they were young and held onto it for dear life. “They were my people,” she said. “They were exactly the people I had in mind. I wrote Horses for Michael Stipe. I wrote Horses for Morrissey. And they found it.''

Or hearing them laugh when I reported that Bernie Taupin moved into the family home of Reginald Dwight and shared a bunkbed with him when they were just launching the career of Elton John...and that just for the record, Bernie was on top and Reg was on the bottom.

Thanks for taking the time to chat, Bill. Where can people get tickets?

Bill: Martyrs’ sells tickets through their Calendar page.

For more information, check out the band website or their Facebook event page.

RIP Bob Elliot

There's a nice write-up about Bob Elliot from Bob & Ray in the New York Times this morning.

It's hard to overstate how big of a star he was back in the network radio days. Bob & Ray were one of the most important comedy teams of the entire century.

There are a million more of their bits on Youtube. I had to stop myself from watching because I would have been doing it all day. I absolutely love their dead pan delivery.

RIP Bob. Back together again with Ray.

The People Vs. OJ Simpson

Are you watching this mini-series on FX? I rolled tape and watched it last night. It's actually quite good. As someone who followed the trial ridiculously closely (I was writing jokes and songs about it every morning), I think it's a very fair and accurate representation of how it went down. At least so far. The ratings were huge, by the way. Highest rated drama premiere in the network's history.

Gracious Loser

Everyone wondered what would happen to "winner" Donald Trump if he ever lost. This was something he tweeted yesterday...

Both teams are already in their respective locker rooms and Bobby Knight is still yelling at the referees. There's no instant replay in politics, pal.

Sumner Steps Down

This was a long-time coming. From the Daily News...

With questions about his physical and mental health swirling, aging billionaire Sumner Redstone has resigned as executive chairman of CBS Corp. and will be replaced by Leslie Moonves. Moonves was nominated by Redstone's daughter and CBS Vice Chair Shari E. Redstone and confirmed by a unanimous vote of the other directors, the company said Wednesday. The new chairman will continue to serve as president and CEO of CBS, positions he has held since 2006. Redstone's resignation was effective Feb. 2, and he will move on to the position of chairman emeritus at CBS, the company said.

He remains the chief executive at Viacom, with Philippe Dauman as his CEO.

Interesting, eh? His own daughter forced him out at CBS, but his "guardian" is letting him stay at Viacom. No need to remove him there. Dauman can already (legally) do whatever he wants.

RIP Joe Alaskey

You may not know his name, but Joe was the voice of Bugs Bunny & Daffy Duck (Mel Blanc's replacement), among other things. From the New York Daily News...

Joe Alaskey, who provided the voice for famed cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Elmer the Fudd, and Sylvester the Cat has died at age 63. His family members announced the news of his death on Wednesday, TMZ is reporting.

Alaskey's big break in Hollywood came when he was hired in the late '80s by Warner Bros., eventually replacing master impressionist Mel Blanc after his death in 1989. The comic actor, who was born in upstate New York, also provided the voice-overs for Marvin the Martian, Plucky Duck on "Tiny Toon Adventures," Grandpa Lou Pickles on "Rugrats," and the ghost Stinkie from "Casper."

Alaskey's last credits include Droopy on "Tom and Jerry," Green Loontern in "Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham," and as a narrator on Discovery Channel's "Murder Comes To Town." In 2004, Alaskey won an Emmy for his portrayal of Daffy the Duck on Cartoon Network's "Duck Dodgers."

Joe was also an author. We were helping him at Chicago Author Solutions. Among the things we helped him with was creating his website ( He was always very good to us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Why Glenn Beck's Media Empire is Burning Down

The Daily Beast has a meticulously researched piece on Beck's empire (The Blaze) and assesses the main reasons why it isn't doing well.

(Photo: Glenn Beck discussing his company's finances)

Read the entire piece here.

Dying Your Hair Gray...on Purpose

The New York Times has a piece today about the new trend for Milennials: Dying their hair gray on purpose.

They do it for style and gravitas.

Never really thought of myself that way, but now that they mention it, I guess I am loaded with both. See that patch of gray on my head in this picture from last weekend? That's 100% natural style and gravitas right there.

Rand Paul Drops Out

He just made the announcement.

He's one of the few that I would have seriously considered.

The sun is setting on a chance to get a sane candidate, Republicans. Please give us a realistic option.

10 Years of Blogging: The Day the Music Died

This year marks my tenth anniversary as a blogger. I've posted more than 30,000 items during that time, and this year I'm going through my archives to re-post a few of my favorites. Today it's only fitting to go back and post about the infamous "Day the Music Died". In 2008, I had a chance to interview Bob Hale. The legendary WLS disc jockey was just a kid broadcaster back in 1959, but he was in the right place at the right time. He was there at Buddy Holly's last show, and he was there when Buddy, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens got on that plane. Here's a portion of my interview with Bob about that day...

Rick: I know you've had to answer this question a million times, but please indulge us by answering it one more time. You were the Master of Ceremonies on February 2, 1959 in Clear Lake, Iowa--the last concert by Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. Describe the scene backstage for us, and explain your part in that ill-fated coin-flip.

Bob: The bus with Valens, Holly, Richardson, Dion, and Frankie Sardo arrived in the late afternoon…actually around 6PM . We hurriedly got them something to eat, and then all pitched in to set up for the performance. Those days were pre-high-fi days, so we had to deal with only one microphone. The tour manager was Sam Geller of the GAC Corporation (which would go on to purchase Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus). As the set-up was taking place, Buddy was playing the piano. Sam and I were listening and he said to me, “This guy is going to be one of the greatest popular music composers of our time. He’s so talented – he can play so many instruments, and he creates such interesting music.”

Buddy’s talents were put to use during the concert as he played the drums during the Dion set. The regular drummer, Charlie Bunch was in the hosp[ital in Green Bay , Wisconsin , having suffered frostbite on the broken down bus! Buddy would play the drums for Dion’s set, which began the second half of the show. The first half was Frankie Sardo, and Big Bopper.

The second half, Dion and the Belmonts, followed by Buddy.

When Dion’s set was over, I sat down with him on the riser in front of the drum set and asked him to introduce his musicians. When it came time for the drummer Dion said something like: “This fellow is taking the place of Charlie Bunch, our regular drummer who is in the hospital in Green Bay suffering from frost bite. Um...let’s see…the drummer’s name…is…ah, oh yeah! BUDDY HOLLY!”

Buddy jumped up, grabbed his guitar and began singing “Gotta Travel On.” The backup men quickly changed places and joined Buddy before he was half way through the first stanza.

There was some drama taking place off-stage, even before we got started, actually. At one point Bopper was sitting with my wife, Kathy, and me in a booth. Kathy was expecting our first child, and Bopper said something like, “That’s what I miss most…being around my wife when the baby moves. Kathy, may I feel your baby moving?” Kathy took Bopper’s hand and placed it on her stomach as the baby moved. Bopper smiled: “I can’t wait to get home to do that.”

Interestingly, no such conversation took place involving Buddy. We didn’t even know at that point that Maria was expecting.

During intermission the back-and-forth conversation between Bopper and Waylon Jennings took place, resulting in Waylon giving up his seat to Bopper. At that point Waylon uttered a phrase that would haunt him all his life – “Well, OKAY, but I hope your plane crashes!”

Years later, at a social gathering in Kentucky, Waylon and I recalled that night. He said: “Man, there isn’t a day goes by that I don’t wish I could take back that comment. The next day when I got the news in Fargo, I went nuts. I cried, I yelled. And I began to drink. Drugs helped along the way. Of course, I realized years down the road I was killing myself, so I quit. I don’t know, maybe deep inside I was so damned guilty, I was trying to kill myself!” He admitted that no matter how long he'd live, he’d always be haunted by Feb 3rd 1959.

After the show was over that night, Tommy Allsup, pressured by Ritchie Valens, said, “Let’s flip a coin.” It’s at this point that two versions of the coin flip emerge. Tommy maintains he flipped the coin; I maintain that as soon as he suggested it, he reached into his pocket and realized he had no money – he was still in his stage clothes. He asked me if I had a coin. I took out a 50 cent piece, said to Ritchie, “OKAY, Ritchie, you want to go, you call it.”


“Heads it is, Ritchie, you’re flying.”

Tommy said, “OKAY,” and went out to the car to retrieve his bags which he’d already put in Carroll Anderson’s car. Regardless which version of the coin toss you hear or accept neither Tommy nor I demand “ownership.” We’ve talked about this, and have no emotional investment in either version. What we agree on is that night was a tragedy and an extremely emotional one for us all.

Rick: What was that next day like?

Bob: February 3rd would be a painful day for family, friends, fellow-musicians, and for those who attended the Winter Dance Party. Within minutes of my announcing the plane crash – I was pulling the 9 to noon shift on the 3rd, teens began arriving at the station (KRIB) just to talk. It became a day-long wake, Pepsi and Coke distributors brought extra cases to our studios – we had so many people just “hanging around.” Parents came, too. Many had been at the Surf the night before. It was the custom of Carroll Anderson to invite parents to the weekly record hops free of charge. Many teens and parents were in tears.

Some students from Waldorf College had been at the Surf the night before. Some came to the studios. I interviewed college as well as high school students. What I didn’t know at the time was that Waldorf, a two-year Lutheran college, did not condone dancing! The school had a rigid Danish-Lutheran background which was extremely conservative in social activities – “Sad Danes,” they were called in Lutheran circles. When the school heard about the students who’d been to the Surf, they immediately suspended the dozen or so students for a couple of weeks. No comments on the deaths – just on “school policy.” Fortunately time has given Waldorf a more enlightened school administration, as well as transforming the college into a four-year, well respected liberal arts college.

On the way home in the afternoon, after conducting about two-dozen telephone interviews with radio stations across the country, I drove by the crash site. The bodies had still not been removed, as the ambulances were still in the corn field. I could not bring myself to walk the hundred yards to the site – and to this day, I’ve not been able to make that walk!

Rick: One of your former colleagues from WJJD, Bob Dearborn, also became known for a connection to the Buddy Holly story in a way. His analysis of Don McClean's "American Pie" (a song inspired by the Buddy Holly plane crash) is considered by many to be the best and most thoughtful one out there. I'm sure the two of you discussed the subject a time or two. What is your feeling about that song?

Bob: Bob Dearborn and I have talked about his analysis of "American Pie." While I take McLean at his word when I asked him about the several theories out there - " Oh, heck, I took words that rhymed, and some thoughts I had, and tied them together. If they sounded good I kept them in."

I think Don has begun to see the value in all the "deciphering" going on - it's good for sales, even today! - that he's backed off that open and honest statement these days. But, as far for which one strikes home the most - Dearborn's, as far as I am concerned.

(You can read Bob's analysis here)

The History of Broadway

I'm loving this series of stories at DNAinfo about Chicago's streets. Today they look at the street Broadway on the north side of the city. I never realized that it's just Broadway...not avenue, street, boulevard or anything else. Simply Broadway.

Read about it's history here.

David Ross

All I can say on behalf of Cubs catcher David Ross is...ouch.

Two of his teammates responded...

What if Shoeless Joe Hadn't Been Banned?

I found this pretty cool. I'm guessing my fellow baseball geeks will too.

The writer of this piece in the Hardball Times imagines Shoeless Joe's farewell if he and his fellow teammates had not been banned.

Totally, totally geeky. But cool. (Except for the part about the extra White Sox championships)

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


Thanks to "RR" for this one...

The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy

Excellent piece by

It's really a historical piece, not a funny ha-ha piece. The list was put together by Vulture senior editor Jesse David Fox; New York senior editor Christopher Bonanos; comedians Wayne Federman, Phoebe Robinson, Halle Kiefer, and Rebecca O'Neal; comedy historians Yael Kohen and Kliph Nesteroff and journalists Elise Czajkowski, Matthew Love, Katla McGlynn, Ramsey Ess, Dan Reilly, Jenny Jaffe, Lucas Kavner, and The Guardian’s Dave Schilling.

Highly recommended for comedy fans.

John Gallagher interview

John Gallagher is the market manager for Hubbard Broadcasting, owner of WTMX, The Drive, and She-FM. He was interviewed this morning by Radio Ink about the Mix's incredible run of five Crystal Awards.

You can read that interview here.

George Halas

Today would have been George Halas' birthday. Halas is obviously known for his contributions to the NFL, but he also has a connection to baseball and the Cubs. Here is his write up at Just One Bad Century...

~George Halas 1895 (Cubs fan 1900-1983)
Growing up in Chicago during the Cubs championship era (the first decade of last century), George Halas was a die-hard Cubs fan. When he was a boy, he and his friends used to hang around the player’s entrance at West Side Grounds and wait for Frank Chance to show up. When he arrived, the boys would beg the Peerless Leader to let them into the games for free. Chance obliged them on several occasions, something George Halas never forgot. Halas later became a baseball player himself. A month after World War 1 ended, he signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees. He eventually made it to the show for part of the 1919 season, but an injury ended his career after only 22 at bats.

The next year the Yankees had another right fielder; a little known fella with the last name of Ruth.

Halas obviously also excelled at football, and was one of the founders of the National Football League. He patterned the team colors after his college team (the University of Illinois), but he named them “The Bears” as a tribute to his favorite baseball team: The Chicago Cubs. Halas’ Bears even shared Wrigley Field with the Cubs for nearly 50 years. George Halas is a member of Pro Football’s Hall of Fame, and Chicago Bears fans will always revere him for his incredible success. But never forget, George Halas was a Cubs fan even longer.

Groundhogs Day

Puxnatawny Phil is predicting an early spring, in case you missed it. Although as my pal "TM" pointed out to me...

As for me, Groundhogs Day also reminds me of Buddy Hackett.

Rear View Mirror

Sorry, Iowa, but we're not coming back for four years. You've had your 24 months in the sunshine. No more. Please.

Rob Hart

Former WGN, WLUP, and FM News 101 newsman Rob Hart has signed on with WBBM News Radio.

Robert Feder has the details.

I interviewed Rob for Chicago Radio Spotlight a couple of times at his previous radio stops. You can read those here, if you're interested.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Helter Skelter

Rare film of Paul McCartney just goofing around with the song "Helter Skelter"...

Soccer Day

Yesterday was a long day for the Kaempfer family. We hosted a fundraiser for our soccer club, then we played (I coached, Sean played) two indoor soccer games. Congrats to Sean for scoring a goal. His grandmother gives him a dollar for every goal. (He passed his father on the all-time scoring list by the time he was 10.)

Traffic Alert

Good catch by Larz...

Lisa Dent

My newest Illinois Entertainer column has been posted. This month I spoke with brand new Hall of Famer, US-99's Lisa Dent.

You can read it here

Around the Publishing World (February 1)

At Chicago Author Solutions (a division of Eckhartz Press), 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. 25 more hard truths about writing and publishing
These are excellent points, written by author Chuck Wendig. Tough truth, but also hope.

2. How Amazon Could Destroy College as we Know it
We always like to link to the amazon-will-take-over-and-ruin-the-world articles. It's really just to make you feel guilty every time you enjoy the unbelievably consumer friendly one-click world they have created. This article is a good one, though. Posted by

3. 7 Mistakes your making with your author blog and how to fix them
Nearly every author has a blog. If you don't, you should get one. At the very least it forces you to practice writing. At the most, it's a great way to stay in touch with your fans. This article by the Creative Penn has some good dos and don'ts.

4. A free e-book about Twitter for Writers
If you're still struggling with what, when, how, and why to tweet, this free e-book is a good primer.

5. Are big publishers using SEO Stacking on Amazon to stack the deck?
This is a really fascinating examination of a specific book by a major publisher and the really fishy reviews it received on amazon.

6. The downside of a world where everyone's an author
Yes, it's a mostly wonderful thing that anyone can become an author. However, some of the authors who never would have been published in the old days are jumping into this new publishing world feeling slightly entitled. Writer Derek Haines does his best to put them in their place.

7. 10 Things to consider when choosing a publisher
We find articles like this every week. It's an important subject for prospective authors, but too many don't bother to read them. This particular piece has tips for the traditional and the non-traditional route.

8. Author Groups That Can Help
Novels are notoriously difficult to promote. If you ever go to a novelist's book signing, talk to the people in the crowd there. The crowd will almost certainly contain fellow novelists. It's true. This article will connect you to author groups filled with people just like you...people that will happily attend your book signings when they occur.

9. What is Kindle Scout?
It's a contest. Jane Friedman explains.

10. Need Help With Your Publicity?
Chicago Author Solutions (that's us!) has an assortment of publicity packages that can help you publicize your book. We've had an incredible streak of success placing authors with traditional and non-traditional media outlets. Click at the link for more info.


Great Advice

Thanks to "MH" for this one...

Ronald Reagan, The Pump Room, & St. Valentine's Day Massacre

I bet these three subjects have never been combined into one piece before.

Just One Bad Century goes there today, tying all three of them into Cubs history.

Its up to you, Iowa