Friday, June 03, 2016


The Tribune Publishing Company made an announcement yesterday. They are changing their name. The new name is tronc. (with a small t). It's a sort of acronym for tribune content online. Not making that up. Here's the press release.

Also, they aren't a publishing company anymore. They are a "a content curation and monetization company focused on creating and distributing premium, verified content across all channels." Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

tronc sounds like the noise you hear when someone farts. It sounds like the sound-effect they use in newscasts to cover up someone swearing. It's the sound you hear when someone blows their nose.

Let me use it in a sentence...

"Hey junior, pull my finger. (tronc). He he."

"Asked for a comment, the suspect screamed...'mind your own business you mother (tronc)'. Charles and Cynthia, back to you."

"Ah choo. Oh dear. Do you have a tissue? Thanks. (tronc)."

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Minutia Men: Episode 5

This week's episode of Minutia Men: Midgets, Old Dads, Sgt. Pepper, and Rick's brush with Bill Maher.

Listen to it here.

As the Sumner Turns

This soap opera just keeps getting weirder. Sumner's granddaughter is now involved. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

“I know my grandfather” – Sumner Redstone – “has been incompetent since last October.” Can things get any more bizarre around the family that controls CBS and Viacom? Keryn Redstone broke with the family when she supported Sumner’s former live-in girlfriend and health-care decision-maker Manuela Herzer. Now Bloomberg says Keryn’s hired the same lawyer who reps Herzer, and “said she plans to work with Viacom’s directors in their legal battle for control of the company.” Keryn says “My experience is the same as the Viacom directors. Shari [Keryn’s aunt] will not let us see Sumner.” But Keryn says “because I was in the house, I know my grandfather has been incompetent” since last Fall. She says when she saw him for 15 minutes on Valentine’s Day, he was sitting “lifeless and flanked by his nurse and caretakers. He seemed unaware of his surroundings.” So when it comes to Sumner’s mental competence, what’s the truth? The Viacom independent directors fear he’ll kick them off the board. He’s already asked Viacom Executive Chair/CEO Philippe Dauman and George Abrams to leave the trust that will take over his 80% controlling interest in CBS and Viacom when he’s no longer able to make decisions. Dauman is suing to regain his position, and now here’s Keryn Redstone, agreeing with him that Sumner’s not competent. So now it’s the granddaughter, Philippe Dauman, and the independent directors essentially lining up against Shari. And last night, CNBC says Herzer “notifies the court of possible grounds for a new competency trial, based on evidence in Viacom CEO/Director suit.” More to come, no doubt.

Vice News

HBO is converting their excellent Vice series into a nightly show in the fall. In order to do that, they had to hire quite a few people. Real journalists scoring exciting new gigs. From Adweek, here's the list so far...

Madeleine Haeringer, Executive Producer
Neil Breakwell, London Bureau Chief
Ryan McCarthy, Editor in Chief,
Justin Dial, Supervising Producer
Christina Vallice, Supervising Producer
Jessica Weisberg, Supervising Producer
Ruben Davis, Senior Producer, Climate
Javier Guzman, Senior Producer, U.S.
Melissa Maerz, Senior Producer, Culture
Craig Thomson, Senior Planning Producer
Roberto Ferdman, Economics Correspondent
Nellie Bowles, Tech Correspondent/Head of San Francisco Bureau
Ravi Somaiya, Tech Correspondent
Scott Conroy, Producer, Politics and Policy
Ben Craw, Video Producer
Jamal Jordon, Digital Video Producer
Jon Strauss, Shooter/Producer
Kenton Powell, Director of Graphics
Michael Deal, Lead, Interactive Graphics
Lucy Paynter, Real Time Graphics Art Director
Kris Cave, Graphics Producer
Dan Fletcher, Head of Social
Maia Lepine, VICE News Coordinator

4 All-Star Infielders?

If the voting for the All-Star game were to end today, the Cubs would have the entire starting infield...Anthony Rizzo (1B), Ben Zobrist (2B), Addison Russell (SS), and Kris Bryant (3B).

The closest they've ever come to pulling that off was in 1969. That year Don Kessinger (SS) and Ron Santo (3B) were both all-star starters, and Ernie Banks (1B) and Glenn Beckert (2B) were all-star reserves. Willie McCovey started at 1B, and Felix Millan started at 2B.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

10-step guide to being a hockey fan

This is a hilarious primer for non-hockey fans watching the Stanley Cup finals.

Congrats to Sean McIndoe at the Guardian for writing it.

Golfer video

The headline is "Golfer falls into pond", which accurately describes what you're about to see. Even though you know what's coming, it's still funny. The best part is the reaction of his friends.

Watch it here.

10 Years of Blogging: Middle Aged Road Trips

This year marks my tenth year as a blogger, and I've been going through the 30,000+ posts to highlight a few of my favorites over the years. In 2011 I went on a road trip with a few of my middle-aged buddies, and wrote about it for Shore Magazine. This is that article...

Regular readers may remember a column I wrote a few years ago, about a middle aged road trip to Memphis with my college buddies. We enjoyed that experience so much, we decided to do another middle aged road trip last weekend.

The excuse: Our buddy Dane's 50th birthday. Destination: Milwaukee. Number of intrepid middle-aged road trippers: 6. Cast of characters: Dane, Rick, Mike, Scott, Jeff and Dave.

It went a little something like this...

*When Dave sent out the itinerary for the weekend, he estimated pick up time for Rick at 4:42 PM. The car arrived four minutes early, but only because it left four minutes early.

*When we checked into our hotel in Milwaukee, the clerk surveyed the giddy expressions on our faces and asked: "Weekend with the guys?"

*We gathered in the lobby after freshening up, and noticed that Dave was wearing a sweater that Bill Cosby wouldn't have worn. Imagine that "The Grimace" had his chest cut out and shaped into a sweater.

*Rick was hoping to hear some authentic Milwaukee German accents. Sure enough, the waiter and waitress at the two German restaurants we visited both had authentic accents. Unfortunately, the accent at Mader's was Australian, and the one at the Hofbrauhaus was Russian.

*Dane had his heart set on an authentic Wisconsin fish fry, and we went to a great one. But he probably wasn't thrilled when his "friends" had the German oompah band sing "Happy Birthday" to him, and wish him a happy 60th. He wasn't exactly thrilled when nobody said "Wait a minute, you can't possibly be 60."

*We knew we were really in Wisconsin at the fish fry when we heard our first "Cripes!" of the weekend.

*Dave was so offended that the rest of us were giving him such a hard time about his sweater, he asked a woman at Mader's what she thought. Her response: "Did someone make that for you?"

*Every pig in Wisconsin was on alert all weekend. Scott ordered a sausage platter at every stop. The rest of us helped him eat it, but only out of concern for his health.

*At one neighborhood tavern we decided it would be fun to scrounge up birthday kisses for Dane. The plan was immediately scrapped when the first two women we saw had mustaches.

*One of our final stops of the first night was Lucille's piano bar not too far from our hotel. Rick and Mike couldn't stop watching the guy in the front row that looked like Kid Rock. This flannel-wearing long-haired trucker was fighting back tears during a Billy Joel medley.

*The pianists also serenaded Dane for his *ahem* 60th birthday. Of course, since it was a piano bar, they made Dane get up on stage as they sang to him. They rewrote the lyrics to "The Sounds of Silence." The first words were; "Hello Penis, my old friend..."

*Back at the hotel bar, Rick and Jeff ordered a scotch for what they thought would be a nightcap. Instead, what they were served was more like a nightsombrero; filled with enough scotch to kill Braveheart. Of course, even Braveheart would have been smart enough not to drink all of it.

*Dave and Scott started making small talk with the people sitting at the bar, and discovered we were hanging out with the entire crew from the Monster Truck show. They were very friendly. Before long they had offered to run over Dave's sweater with a Monster Truck--free of charge.

*It wasn't until someone mentioned it was 2 am, that the intrepid road trippers finally hit the sack. Of course, at 10 am breakfast, we were no longer intrepid--we were decrepit. If Snow White was there, she would have called us "foggy", "slurry", "pukey", "gassy", "chunky" and "maybe I really am 60."

*Breakfast was eaten in almost complete silence. A few were not feeling well enough to eat. Scott ordered sausage. Dave broke the silence with a monologue featuring vivid descriptions of his bowel movements.

*At the end of breakfast, Dane asked what everybody wanted to do. The consensus was clear: Naptime.

*Dave and Scott really wanted to go to the casino after our naps, so we agreed to go for two hours maximum. While Dave and Scott sat at the poker table,  Dane found a $10 slot machine, inserted his twenty, pressed the button twice, won $100, and called it a day. (Happy 60th birthday!)

*Interesting loophole in Wisconsin law: it's illegal to smoke inside a bar or restaurant, but it's legal to smoke inside a Native American casino. We were all outraged (outraged!) at the politically incorrect joke about the reason for this loophole ("So the casino owners could send smoke signals").

*On Saturday night we went to a Packers bar to watch the Packers playoff game against the Falcons. Jeff ordered brat shots. You read that right. Brat shots. Shot glasses filled with sliced bratwurst.

*Dave made the mistake of telling one of the drunks at the next table that we were from Chicago. The drunk (then drunker, then drunkest) Packer fan spent the rest of the night coming over to our table, putting his arm around one of us, and saying "I tell you what, that Packers-Bears game is gonna be somethin'"

*On the opening kickoff, one of the Packers fans actually screamed: "SPEAR HIM!"

*The drunks at the table next to us knocked over their entire table, not once, but twice; providing a refreshing beer bath to the tables around them.

*The bar owner was feeling generous. He said there would be free shots to everyone in the house for every Packers touchdown. The Packers scored SIX touchdowns. The unidentified green and/or yellow shots may have provided a helping hand in the table knockdowns.

*After the sixth free Packer shot was passed out, we left the bar before our Packer friend passed out on us. The intrepid road trippers were back at the hotel by 10:30.

*There was a wedding in our hotel that night and one of the wedding guests rode up the elevator with us. He said: "How about that football game, huh?" Dave said, "Actually we're from Chicago." The guest said: "So am I. F*** the Packers."

*The last morning we met for breakfast again. This time, after a good night's sleep, we were almost back to normal. Jeff looked at the menu and said: "I don't think I've had a vegetable since Friday."

*The Packer hype was already reaching a fever pitch. The Milwaukee Sentinel sports headline screamed: "You want a piece of this?" The name of the writer that wrote that column? I kid you not: Mike Hunt. Look it up.

*We stopped at the Brat Stop in Kenosha on the way back to Chicago to watch the Bears-Seahawks game. How does one describe the Brat Stop? Maybe this will help paint a picture. Someone had already "lost their lunch" in a urinal, and it was noon. Mind you, this urinal was two feet away from a sink, and five feet away from an actual toilet, and someone was so loaded they lost it in the urinal. That, my friends, is the Brat Stop.

*Scott ordered the sausage sampler platter, then upon discovering how tasty one of the sausages was, ordered more sausage. One for the (burp) road.

*When we got back to Chicago we all immediately checked into rehab. We should be out in time for the Bears-Packers game on Sunday. "I tell you what, that Bears-Packers game is gonna be somethin'"

Rich King

This month's Illinois Entertainer column has been posted. I interviewed Rich King about his incredible career.

You can read it here.

A Trump Endorsement

This is a good one too. North Korea has endorsed him.

DPRK Today published the article Tuesday, reports NK News. The author of the editorial, Han Yong-mook, introduced himself as a Chinese North Korean scholar.

"In my personal opinion, there are many positive aspects to the Trump’s ‘inflammatory policies,’ " the article states, according to NK News. "Trump said ‘he will not get involved in the war between the South and the North,’ isn’t this fortunate from North Koreans’ perspective?"

Great. Another Korean War...this time with nuclear weapons. What could go wrong?

I actually think this guy isn't completely crazy

Sounds plausible to me...

Glenn Beck Suspended

When I first heard this news yesterday I was confused. I thought that Beck was now exclusively in the domain of the Blaze and it's affiliates. Since he owns that network, there is no way he could be suspended.

I didn't realize his show also aired on Sirius/XM. That's who suspended him. The suspension was brought about by a guest's suggestion that Donald Trump wouldn't be removable as president...unless a patriot removed him. The clear implication was that it would take an assassin.

Not cool.

This kind of loose talk about our current president is common place, of course, on these right wing shows. It's not right no matter who they are talking about. You have the right to free speech. You don't have the right to scream "FIRE" in a crowded movie theater.

As the Sumner Turns

I know a few of you think I'm a little uncharitable in calling Sumner Redstone's life a soap opera. Oh yeah? Well, you know who agrees with me? The makers of actual soap operas. From this morning's Tom Taylor column...

Sumner Redstone’s ex- may appear on a “Real Housewives” show. How low can this saga of a media mogul laid low by physical (and perhaps other) disability go? The Wall Street Journal says Sumner’s ex-girlfriend Sydney Holland “may join the cast of “Real Housewives” – the one set in Beverly Hills. She’s got the money to play in that realm, even though she’s no longer welcome at Sumner’s Beverly Park mansion. Vanity Fair says the controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom cast her out when he learned of her relationship with an actor named George Pilgrim. That and the years when Holland was the recipient of large amounts of cash and many gifts from Sumner should equip her for “Real Housewives,” all right.

I rest my case.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Eddie V

From Robert Feder's column, news of Eddie Volkman's return to the Chicago airwaves...

Chicago radio veteran Eddie Volkman is returning to the airwaves. Starting June 6, he’ll host from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays on WCKG AM 1530, the west suburban talk station. Volkman, who most recently has been podcasting for the Radio Misfits Podcast Network and teaching at Illinois Media School, is one-half of the iconic duo of Eddie & Jobo (with Joe Colborn). “It’s a great chance for me to show my own personality and establish an individual identity,” Volkman says of his new gig. “My show will tend to be folksy and fun . . . I’m not into scandal and celebrity gossip.” (Photo: Eddie and Me)

Ron Wood Becomes a 68 years old

The New York Daily News has the story about Wood's 38-year-old wife giving birth to twins.

The article also notes that Wood has four adult children from previous marriages, but doesn't mention their ages. How much would you like to bet that at least one of them is older than his current wife?

Good Use of Hacking Skills

How Low Can He Go?

Over the weekend Trump was railing against the judge in his Trump University case. At one point, he noted that the judge is "we believe, a Mexican."


There are so many levels of bad here. Ripping a judge while your case is in progress? Calling him "a Mexican" as if that has anything to do with anything?

And the scariest part of it all? The crowd cheered.

Crazy Weekend

From Thursday through Sunday I worked non-stop at the Green White fields at the National Donauschwaben Tournament. We made 300 pounds of sausage on Thursday night, and then I served as a bartender on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (among other duties including food service, field marshall, etc).

And then finally, yesterday, I took the wife to the Cubs game for a little recuperative fun.

Back to work today.