Friday, October 28, 2016

20,000 Dogs

Best Ad of the Election Season

I love this team

How can you not love this team?

Steve Bartman

Please just leave the guy alone. I get that we want to cleanse our guilt (although I for one, never blamed the guy), but he doesn't want any part of it, despite a grass-roots push to get him to Wrigley to throw out the first pitch. His spokesperson is Frank Murtha...

“Steve is cheering for the Cubs and continues to be a Cubs fan. He just wants everybody, moving forward, to respect his privacy and let his life continue to unfold as the grand plan has it. Unimpeded by things that… have been blown out of proportion. I think that’s the message. It’s not necessarily a new one,” Frank Murtha told USA Today.

Get it? Just leave him alone. If the Cubs win it all, he will be happy. Probably happier than most of us. But he really doesn't need to help the rest of Cubs nation alleviate their collective guilt.

Let's face it. It wasn't our finest moment. We have to live with that too.

Long Waits in World Sports

There's only one on the list that tops the Cubs for number of years, and it's in cycling.

Does that even count?

Read about the other stories here.

Cub fans from around the world

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Minutia Men, Episode 26

EP26 – Rick and Dave discuss cop stereotypes, Trump book reports, very old beer, Wrigleyville gouging, and Rick’s brush with Martha Stewart.

Listen to it here.

Early Voting

Don't know why I've never taken advantage of this before! Brought son #2 along for his first vote ever.

Sam Bee to Interview President Obama

This is a huge "get" for such a new show. He will appear on Monday. The Hollywood Reporter has the details.

Meanwhile, Bill Maher has to be a little ticked off at this news. He's been openly begging on the air for an Obama interview, and it seems like the president has done every show but his.

World Series in Chicago

I've been a Cubs season ticket holder for twenty years (with 8 other guys/gals), and I've seen so many great games (including this year), but as the World Series returns to Chicago, I have no tickets. We had a draft among the group of us, and I pulled the short straw. My plan had been to go to Wrigleyville anyway, just to experience the atmosphere, but then I heard that bars were charging $250-$500 entry fees.That's just wrong. I won't pay that. So, I'll be watching the games at home instead. I'll still enjoy the experience, and I won't have to pay $9 for a beer, but I must admit...I feel like I'm missing something. For those of you at the ballpark this weekend, have a great time, and raise a glass for the rest of us who are with you in spirit. Go Cubs!

A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request

Steve Goodman still rules. Even if you're sick of "Go Cubs Go", remember it's not his only Cubs song...

We Got the Fire

Someday We'll Go All the Way

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Bobby Skafish on Brandwidth

Bobby Skafish appears this week on "Brandwidth on Demand", co-hosted by former radio programmers Dave Martin and Kipper McGee. Highly recommended chat about his book "We Have Company."

Listen to it here.

Not Cool

If you're not a older white male, you might be inclined to do this to Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Doesn't make it right. He paid good money for that.

(P.S. That's how it's done, by the way. I looked into this once for a celebrity I was working for, and they essentially told me--"You pay, we lay". There are certain minimum requirements--you and I couldn't do it--but if you're on television, in the movies, or in the media, it comes down to money. Next time you see one being installed, keep that in mind.)

Sound of Music Parody

All about the election. Probably the first parody of the Goatherder song I've ever heard. Warning--the song is an earworm. I've been unable to get it out of my head.

The Bright Side

Trying to keep my cup half full...

Morning Changes at WSHE

Bummer. Liked Brian Peck. Instinctually dislike syndicated shows replacing local shows. But here's the scoop, courtesy of the RAMP Newsletter...

It's a huge Top 3 market clearance for the syndicated Brooke & Jubal, as their show has been picked up by Hubbard Radio's WSHE (The New SHE 100.3)/Chicago. Brooke & Jubal will make its Windy City debut on Monday, Nov. 14, where it will run from 6-9am CT. Current WSHE morning personality Brian Peck will exit on Friday, Nov. 11. In making the announcement, PD Cat Thomas said, "I've been a Brooke and Jubal fan since I first heard them last year on a trip to the Northwest. They're entertaining, funny, smart and addicting. They deserve to be heard in the hottest, most historic radio market in the US. The New SHE 100.3 is now ready to go above and beyond our strong workday launch with great music AND great personalities."

Okey doke. Reserving judgement to be fair, but as I already mentioned, not a fan (in general) of moves like this. They aren't moving to Chicago. They'll continue to do their show from Seattle.

Megyn Kelly Schools Newt

You know she had the ol' "This coming from a man who divorced his cancer-striken wife on her deathbed" on the tip of her tongue, too. These guys have no shame. She's obsessed with sex? He led a campaign to impeach a president for extra-marital sex...while he was doing the exact same thing.

Last Night's Umpire

I really thought that Leslie Nielson had come back from beyond the grave to umpire last night...

The way he called out Bryant in the bottom of the first was ridiculous. Then he squeezed Lester for the first three innings.

But it turns out it wouldn't have mattered. You can't win if you don't score.

Back at it again tonight.

Go Cubs!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What a Cubs World Series Means to Me

I've been struggling to put into words the emotions that are swirling inside me this week. Everyone has been asking me the same question. How does it feel to see the Cubs in the World Series?

After pondering it a few days, I've come to the conclusion that the feeling is not really a communal one. It's a deeply personal one, and it's different for every life long Cubs fan.

This is what it means to me.

For me, a Cubs World Series makes me think, first and foremost, about my Uncle Manny (that's him in the middle of the family photo). He's the one that made me a Cubs fan. He took me to my first game in 1968. And he took me whenever he could after that. He moved away from Chicago, but when Uncle Manny came back to town, we made the trek back to Wrigley. We always sat in the same spot, in the right field bleachers. In the early 70s, that got me closest to my favorite player, Jose Cardenal. (Unfortunately, it also introduced me to Ronnie Woo Woo. I can still hear that perpetual "Jose. Woo Woo. Jose. Woo Woo")

My family moved to Germany in 1974 and didn't return until 1980, but during those years I bought the Stars & Stripes newspaper and continued to follow the Cubs via box scores. I tried to imagine what was going on in my beloved Chicago and my beloved Wrigley Field through the statistics in the paper. Bill Madlock was leading the league in hitting! Rick Reuschel just won his 20th game! When I turned 12, I wanted a Cubs shirt but they were simply not available in Germany, so my mom and I made one out of a plain white t-shirt. I had two of them. One had #1 for Jose. The other had #26 for Billy Williams.

When we moved back to Chicago from Germany, I hopped right back on the Cubs bandwagon. When Uncle Manny came to town we went to the games together. In those pre-1984 days, it was still possible to get our right field bleacher seats.

I was in college in 1984. That was a magical season for the Cubs. I made the pilgrimage from Champaign to Chicago for opening day that year. I was covering the game for WPGU Radio and I never felt more like a big shot. I talked to Harry Caray on the field. He predicted a Cubs championship that day, and everyone in the press laughed out loud. Not me. I believed it. And I believed it even more when the Cubs pounded the Mets rookie phenom Dwight Gooden. I also made a life-long friend that day. My companion on that trip was Dane Placko. He was the guy who scored us the press passes, and our Cubbie bond exists to this day. We share our season ticket plan.

In June of 1984, I went to one of the greatest games in Wrigley history...

My Cubs innocence, however, was lost in October of that year. I was part of an impromptu parade down Green Street in Champaign when the Cubs clinched the division. I skipped class to watch Game 1 and Game 2 at Wrigley Field. But I also was watching the moment that Steve Garvey hit that home run in Game 4. It's a moment that is etched in my memory banks forever. As Steve Garvey was rounding the bases, my Sox fan friends Stu and Dave high-fived each other over my head. It's a story I chronicled in the book "Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Until Next Year", if you want a more graphic description of it.

It changed me as a Cubs fan. I began to expect the worst, and I got exactly what I expected in 1989. In 2003, I left game 7 of the NLCS before it ended--because I could smell the defeat approaching.

Nevertheless, in 1995, when my first son Tommy was born, I began to mold him into a Cubs fan. When Johnny arrived a few years later, he was also indoctrinated. My goal was to create a Cubs-bond with them that would equal mine with Uncle Manny.

Even though neither Tommy nor Johnny became a die-hard fan, I still probably had my favorite day ever as a father with each of them (individually). Tommy and I saw the Paul McCartney concert at Wrigley together in 2011, and it was an emotional moment for both of us. (It's featured in the book "Father Knows Nothing") Johnny and I had this great day at Wrigley Field together.

When son #3 Sean came along, he somehow naturally became a Cubs fan without my pushing him. We've been to dozens of games together over the years (including this absolutely perfect day), and I don't think I can even begin to explain how much these days meant to me. His Cubs love really kicked in during the 2008 season.

That year, I also began writing my blog Just One Bad Century, and I wrote a hopeful song, begging for the agony to end...

When the playoffs began, Channel 2 sent over a news crew to interview me...

And then when the Cubs blew it again, I hit my lowest point as a Cubs fan.

The following season I took out an ad in the newspaper, sarcastically announcing the birth of "Waitle Nex Year" on the day I felt the Cubs were officially out of it. It somehow went viral when Deadspin wrote about it. Mary Schmich interviewed me for her Tribune column.

Even though I was becoming somewhat cynical, I still had some good Cubbie moments during the dark days...

I met Ernie Banks.

I met Jose Cardenal.

I saw the Kerry Wood 20 strikeout game.

I set the best chapter of my novel "$everance" at Wrigley Field.

I went on the field with Sean during family day.

I wrote about Every Cubs Player Ever.

But there was also a sad day during this time, and it brings me back to the first thing I thought about when the Cubs clinched their spot in the World Series.

Uncle Manny died.

At the time, the Cubs rebuild looked like a pipe dream.

He lived 69 years and never saw his favorite team in the World Series. Our favorite team.

So, when I say this Cubs World Series is not really a communal experience, that's what I mean. To every one of us it's a very personal moment. Wrigley Field will be filled with over 40,000 fellow Cub fans who are all experiencing their personal moments together.

Millions more (including me) will be watching it on television or listening to it on the radio.

I'll enjoy seeing this incredible bunch of players ending that long drought. I'll cheer when they score, and I'll be there in the moment--win or lose.

But I'll also be looking skyward and raising a toast to Uncle Manny, and all the other wonderful people who never got to see this day.

Sorry for the long-winded response to your question, but that's what a Cubs World Series means to me.

Indians Fans Bring Goats to Game to Further the Curse

I get why they're doing it. It's kind of "ha ha" cute.

But it ain't gonna work.

The main reason for that is obvious--the whole goat curse is ridiculous.

Chicago Radio Ratings

From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Chicago has no trouble choosing a 6+ favorite this time, and it’s CBS all-newser WBBM/WCFS (6.1-6.0-6.8). Last month ’BBM was tied with iHeart’s urban AC WVAZ, which is second now (6.0-6.0-5.8). WBBM takes all dayparts except for afternoons (second) and nights (tied for second). “V103” WVAZ wins PM drive and nights. As is often the case, Hubbard’s hot AC “Mix” WTMX is third (5.5-5.2-4.9, and #2 in mornings with Eric & Kathy). iHeart’s top 40 “Kiss 103.5” WKSC ranks fourth total-week, 4.5-4.8-4.4 (and third afternoons and weekends). Improving from eighth place to fifth is Tribune’s talk WGN (3.8-3.7-4.3, and third in mornings). The Cubs were in the midst of their pennant stretch for CBS Radio’s sports “Score” WSCR (3.7-4.5-4.2). It’s #2 at nights, where a lot of baseball got played. Hubbard’s classic rock “Drive” WDRV steadily improves (3.6-3.8-4.0). It’s now third middays. Neither country station loves this book – not CBS Radio’s “US 99” WUSN (2.9-2.8-2.5) and not iHeart’s “Big” WEBG (2.5-2.7-2.2). An over-performing low power Channel 6 TV signal that Weigel LMAs as easy oldies WRME scratches out another gain (2.0-2.3-2.4). That ties it with CBS classic hits WJMK (2.6-2.3-2.4) and Hubbard’s AC WSHE (2.4-2.5-2.4). Cumulus talker WLS edges up 2.0-2.1-2.2, and it’s fourth in middays, where Rush Limbaugh holds forth. A crescendo for Window to the World-owned commercial-classical WFMT (1.4-1.6-1.8). Top 40 “Kiss” holds the lead in cume at 2,367,700.

The Washington Post Nails It

I'm probably just a fan of this column by Catherine Rampell because it's almost the exact same point I made yesterday, but it's very good. Here's an excerpt...

It is, after all, the right-wing radio, TV and Internet fever swamps that have gotten them into this mess, that have led to massive misinformation, disinformation and cynicism among Republican voters. And draining those fever swamps is the only way to get them out of it.

For a sense of just how misinformed Republican voters have become, consider a few of the provably wrong things many believe.

Seven in 10 Republicans either doubt or completely disbelieve that President Obama was born in the United States. Six in 10 think he’s a secret Muslim. Half believe global warming is possibly or definitely a myth concocted by scientists.

Among just Trump voters, 7 in 10 believe government economic data are fabricated. Half don’t trust that votes will be counted accurately in the November election.

Republicans and Trump backers didn’t come to these conclusions independently. They learned them from the influential TV, radio and Web outfits whose imprimaturs Republican politicians desperately seek, and whose more troubling content these politicians have been reluctant to criticize.

The news you wish was happening is not news. When it's presented as if it's true, and nobody on your side of the aisle points out that it's crazy, the public will believe it. When you do it for twenty years (which is how long Fox News has been relevant now), it might be too late to fix it.

Harry on Kimmel

Pat Colander in Indiana

Drew a nice crowd yesterday in Indiana. Eckhartz Press author Pat Colander did a reading yesterday at South Shore Arts Center in Munster, Indiana from her book Hugh Hefner's First Funeral and other True Tales of Love and Death in Chicago.

Here are a few pictures of her in action...

Her book is a finalist for 2016 Book of the Year by the Chicago Writer's Association, and of course, it's availale at Eckhartz Press. Click here.

Bill Murray Perfectly Sums Up What This Feels Like

Monday, October 24, 2016

John Oliver Taunts Trump

For those of you keeping score at home

RIP Bobby Vee

He passed away at the age of 73.

I was fortunate enough to meet and talk to Bobby Vee during my WJMK days. Super down to earth, great guy. And he had one of the greatest show biz starts in history.

He took the stage for the first time as a fill-in for a rock star who couldn't make it to the show. The rock star was Buddy Holly, and the reason he couldn't make it was the plane crash that took his life.

Among the people who later played in the band with Bobby Vee was another future famous Bobby: Bob Dylan.

This is my favorite Bobby Vee tune...

Conservative Media Reckoning

This is a great article that I think really points the finger at what caused Trump in the first place. Conservative talk show host John Ziegler is quoted extensively in this morning's Business Insider...

“I find it rather ironic that most Republicans claim to be ardent capitalists, because if politics was like an investment issue, on November 9 there would be a whole lot of people who would lose their jobs and careers forever,” the talk show host said.

“If someone said there was no chance of a crash in the financial industry and it turns out there was a massive crash, the marketplace takes care of that,” Ziegler continued. “Those people are done. And their influence in the future becomes greatly diminished if not eviscerated.”

In this case, however, Ziegler warned that “those who were wrong [in 2016] have an enormous power to control the narrative.”

“Drudge, Breitbart, Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, [Laura] Ingraham — those people are completely invested in another false narrative to cover up the first false narrative,” he said. “[A]nd if there’s one thing I have ever learned in life, it is far easier to dupe people than to convince them that they have been duped.”

That last line is pure brilliance.

I've been saying this for years. When people don't have to read, hear or see actual news, and instead they can read, see or hear the news they wish was true, you are doomed as a democracy. The job of the press is to tell us what is actually happening.

The mainstream press is still bound by journalistic standards. They are reporters--news gatherers. They may be personally liberal (nearly all of them probably lean that way based on my experience), but they don't ignore reality. They still hunt the big story. They live for those scoops. It's in their DNA. They would never cover up a big scoop just because it goes against their politics. To believe that is to willfully ignore the essence of what makes a reporter.

But half of the country now believes that the mainstream press is only interested in pushing a political agenda. They think the system is rigged because their candidate is getting hammered. So, they only listen to their own openly-partisan media, who is telling them not to believe the actual press.

But here's the thing: It's not media bias to focus more on the insane things Trump says (pushing conspiracy theories as facts) than on the details of John Podesta's hacked e-mails. One is potentially going to be the president, and is causing the United States to be a punchline all over the world. The other shows a political organization acting politically. Unseemly, yes. Calculated, yes. Surprising--not in the slightest.

The mainstream press has the ratio just right.

Talking Cubs on WGN Radio

Had a great time on WGN Radio last night with Brian Noonan.

You can listen to it here.

My portion of the show begins at the 13 minute mark. Surprise guest caller John Landecker joins in the discussion a few minutes later.

I brought Sean along to see the radio studio. Unlike his brothers, Sean did not grow up in a radio studio. He was just a baby when my radio career ended, so he really wanted to see it. He even took the photos of me and Brian...

17 Celeb Cub Fans

There are many more than that, of course, but these 17 celebrated on social media.

My favorite tweet is the one from Bob Newhart.

AT&T Wants to Merge with Time Warner?

They've already made the offer, but this cannot be allowed to take place, can it?

The telecom giant already controls the following landline companies...
BellSouth Telecommunications (formerly known as Southern Bell; includes former South Central Bell)
Illinois Bell
Indiana Bell
Michigan Bell
Ohio Bell
Pacific Bell (formerly Pacific Telephone & Telegraph)
Nevada Bell (formerly known as Bell Telephone Company of Nevada)
Southwestern Bell
Wisconsin Bell (formerly Wisconsin Telephone

They already own DirecTV; the leader in satellite television. They are one of the biggest cable companies.

And now they want to purchase the leading company in content, Time Warner. Time Warner owns...

HBO Multiplexes
HBO on Demand
Cinemax Multiplexes
Cinemax on Demand
HBO Home Entertainment
HBO Domestic and International Program Distribution
HBO Films
HBO Miniseries
HBO Sports
HBO Entertainment
HBO Documentary Films
HBO International
HBO Asia
HBO Europe
HBO Hungary
HBO India
HBO Poland
HBO Romania
HBO Latin America Group
HBO Latin America
HBO Brazil
Warner Channel
E! Latin America
Cinemax Latin America
Turner Broadcasting International
Millennium Media Group
Turner Broadcasting System Latin America
Turner Entertainment Networks
truTV Original Productions
TCM Productions
Turner Sports
Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital Network
Bleacher Report
March Madness Live
NBA Digital (joint venture with the NBA)
NBA Mobile
NBA Game Time App
Esporte Interativo (Brazil)
Turner Entertainment Digital Network
The Smoking Gun
Universal Wrestling Corporation (formerly World Championship Wrestling, Inc. - assets now owned by WWE, Inc.)
TBS, Inc. Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media (AYAKM) division
Cartoon Network
Adult Swim
Cartoon Network Studios
Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe
Williams Street
CNN News Group
CNN en Español
KBEH (co-owned by Viacom)
CNN International
CNN Originals
HLN Productions
CNN Digital Network
CNN Mobile
CNN Newsource
CNN ImageSource
CNN Wire
Turner Private Networks
CNN Airport
AccentHealth Waiting Room Television Network
Turner Inflight Services
Amtrak Acela Network
Dealer Entertainment Network - with TCG Enterprises, Inc,
The Checking Network
TCM & Cartoon Network / Asia Pacific
TNT Latin America
MuchMusic Latin America
Turner Japan K.K. (formerly Japan Entertainment Network K.K. and Japan Image Communications Co.,Ltd.)
Cartoon Network
TABI Channel
Joint Ventures
CNN Chile
CNN TÜRK (Japanese)
Zee Turner Ltd (India)
Websites/Broadband Services
Play On! Powered by ACC Select
Super Deluxe
TNT Overtime
PGA and
Warner Bros. Consumer Products
Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures
Warner Bros. Pictures International
Warner Bros. International Cinemas
DC Entertainment
DC Comics
Mad (magazine)
Vertigo (DC Comics)
Warner Bros. Digital Networks
Warner Bros. Pictures Group
New Line Cinema
Turner Entertainment Co.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Domestic Distribution
Castle Rock Entertainment
Warner Bros. Television Group
Warner Bros. Television
Warner Horizon Television
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Warner Bros. International Television
Warner Bros. Television Productions UK
Alloy Entertainment
The CW (50% with CBS Corporation)
The CW Plus
The CW Daytime
CW Seed
Warner Bros. Animation
Hanna-Barbera (In Name-only unit)
Looney Tunes
WB Kids
Warner Bros. Television Media to Go (online)
Warner Home Video
Warner Bros. Family Entertainment
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Monolith Productions
NetherRealm Studios
Rocksteady Studios
TT Games
Turbine (company)
WB Games Montréal
WB Games San Francisco
Hulu (10%) (in partnership with 21st Century Fox, Comcast and The Walt Disney Company)
Global Media Group
Time Warner Medialab
Time Warner Investments - venture capital unit
Bluefin Labs
Dynamic Signal
Double Fusion
Everyday Health
Gaia Online
tvtag previously as GetGlue
Tremor Video
Trion Worlds

Do I really need to point out why it's important not to let media companies gain control of the flow of information ....AGAIN?

See $everance for more information.

SNL on Debate 3

RIP Herb Kent

The Cool Gent, Herb Kent, passed away this weekend at the age of 88.

He did his radio show on V-103 the day before he passed. That seems only fitting.

Illinois Entertainer tells the story of Herb's incredible career.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Did this really just happen?

Here's how I know it did.

The only person I know who is a bigger Cubs fan than me. My college buddy Dane Placko in a moment of abandoning his journalistic play-it-down-the-middle objectivity.

I had 137 texts on my phone last night, including that photo from Dane.

Apparently, I've been a little vocal about my Cubs love over the last four decades or so.

Pinching myself.