Saturday, February 18, 2017

Blackhawks Ring

Ran into my buddy Gene Honda at an event on Friday night and he let me wear his Blackhawks championship ring. Gene is the public address announcer for the Hawks...

The event was a WPGU reunion. Here are a few of my old cronies...Michael Weiland, Gene Honda, Charlie Meyerson, me, and Dane Placko.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Just Like My Dinner Parties

How is this for a dinner party guest list: Paul McCartney, Tom Hanks, Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh, and Ringo Starr. The five of them dined together the other night in California.

I've met three of those guys, and even eaten dinner with one of them once...although it was in a radio studio and it was free food delivered by a fast food joint...and I'm guessing neither of us really thought of it as having dinner together.

Can you guess which one from the list?

Hint: It wasn't a Beatle or an Academy Award winner.

Hint 2: It wasn't a former member of Nirvana.

Even Jimmy Fallon Mocks Trump Press Conference

Jimmy Fallon is not known for his cutting political commentary. That press conference yesterday went beyond politics...

Keep it Clean

From this morning's NOW Newsletter...

Pendulum could swing back on indecency enforcement. Donald Trump knows he owes November’s victory partly to conservative Christians who care about social issues – including bad language on radio and TV. Groups like the Parents Television Council expect more out of Trump than they did from Obama. New FCC Chair Ajit Pai made his first TV appearance with Fox Business Network, and its Trish Regan asked about recent f-bombs, like Kristen Stewart on “Saturday Night Live.” Pai says “If we are presented with complaints, we are duty-bound to enforce the law…and the law that is on the books today requires that broadcasters keep it clean, so to speak.”

Minutia Men, Episode 39

EP39 – Rick and Dave discuss drive-thru funerals, Honest Abe, Nazi Tennis, a unifying Chicago baseball figure, and Rick’s brush with a ranch hand from Rawhide.

Listen to it here.

Radio Matters

Pretty effective ad about radio made by the RAB...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Maddux Pranks Bryant

The Trump Handshake

Trump & China

For years Trump unsuccessfully tried to trademark his name in China.

This week, just a few days after agreeing to keep the "One China" policy, he suddenly got the trademark.

Move along. Nothing to see here. Good thing the corrupt Hillary wasn't elected.

We Get it, Wolf. We Get it.

Cueball Wizard

Released three years ago today...

Fox News May Be Under Federal Investigation

This all goes back to the sexual harassment claims. From this morning's Hollywood Reporter...

Government prosecutors may be investigating 21st Century Fox for quietly settling sexual harassment claims against former Fox News chief Roger Ailes without reporting it to the media giant’s shareholders.

On Wednesday, during a hearing regarding former Fox News personality Andrea Tantaros’ lawsuit against network executives before New York Supreme Court Judge David Benjamin Cohen, an attorney for Tantaros said he’d been served with a subpoena by federal prosecutors investigating sexual harassment allegations directed at Ailes. Tantaros, who once served as a co-host of the afternoon show The Five, alleges in her lawsuit that Fox News “operated like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult.”

I have a strong suspicion that this will go nowhere, but you never know.

Refusing to Book Kellyanne

Her presence on a TV screen makes me immediately switch the channel, but I thought it was just me. Turns out TV hosts and producers have had enough of Kellyanne Conway too. At least three shows have now said they refuse to book her for various different reasons.

Those reasons include her refusal to answer questions, her tendency to say things that are demonstrably false, and the fact that it appears she is completely out of the loop these days.

President Trump came into office declaring war on the press and the intelligence agencies. If he hasn't noticed yet, both of those decisions were gigantic mistakes.

Something to Keep in Mind

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Connie Szerszen

My former WJMK colleague has a new book out. From Robert Feder's column this morning...

Remember Connie Szerszen? Chicago’s “Top Rock Girly Jock,” who was a pioneering radio personality starting in the late ’60s, has a new book out in paperback. Comforts: Blessed Are They . . . is a Christian guide to mourning that tells personal stories of coincidences in everyday life from a spiritual point of view. It’s available on Amazon in print and Kindle formats. Szerszen said the labor of love was inspired by her volunteer work at church. “I run into so many people who have had similar experiences. There’s a truth hiding here somewhere and it never hurts to dwell on what made you feel comforted,” she said.

I interviewed Connie in 2009 when her first book came out. You can read that here.

Joe Maddon's New Slogans

There are four under consideration...


"That's Cub"


"Don't Forget the Heartbeat"

I'm not crazy about any of them. Hopefully a "Try Not To Suck"-ish slogan emerges in spring training.

The Line of Succession

The New York Daily News is trolling the president every day. Today they published the line of succession. You know, just in case people are interested...

For no specific reason, here’s a reminder of the order of succession if President Trump — and any of his immediate successors — were to somehow leave office very soon.

1. Vice President Pence

2. House Speaker Paul Ryan

3. President pro tempore of the Senate Orrin Hatch

4. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

5. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

6. Defense Secretary James Mattis

7. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

8. Acting Secretary of the Interior Kevin Haugrud

9. Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse

10. Commerce Secretary (vacant seat; nominee Wilbur Ross has not been confirmed by the Senate)

11. Acting Labor Secretary Ed Hugler (nominee Andy Puzder has not been confirmed)

12. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price

13. Acting Housing and Urban Development Secretary Craig Clemmensen (nominee Ben Carson has not been confirmed)

14. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao

15. Acting Energy Secretary Grace Bochenek (nominee Rick Perry has not been confirmed)

16. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

17. Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin

18. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

5'8" blocks 6'8"

Little guys everywhere are cheering...

Stephen Colbert Finds His Voice

Something interesting has happened over at CBS since the Trump Administration has taken over. Before the election, CBS execs were being quoted anonymously considering a switch of Stephen Colbert and James Corden's time slots. There's no doubt Colbert heard those rumblings. That's when the flailing Colbert, who had been trying to do a down-the-middle softened-edges comedy talk show, decided to go for it. He had nothing to lose. He returned to the edgy political comedy that made him a star, and voila!

The (more than) half of the country that is currently panicking watching this new president started tuning in droves again. And now Colbert is #1 in the late night ratings.

Sounds Like A Joke But Isn't

I think the headline and subheadline say it all.

Congress Is Repealing Rules To Keep Guns From The Mentally Ill: Republicans say they don’t want to “stigmatize” people with disabilities.

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a giant episode of Punk'd.

It's Not Just American Football

Anyone who has played soccer for an extended period of time (like me) has had at least one concussion. It's inevitable when two players go for the same headball, or when elbows fly on a cross from the winger. I was usually the winger, so I was lucky. I only had one concussion.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

John Gehron

From All Access this afternoon...

THE CONCLAVE, which celebrates 42 years of educating radio broadcasters this year, will present the 2017 ROCKWELL AWARD to ACCURADIO COO/Chairman JOHN GEHRON. GEHRON will receive The ROCKWELL AWARD during the SUMMER Learning Conference JULY 26-28 at the DOUBLETREE BY HILTON, MINNEAPOLIS – PARK PLACE. Since 1989, THE CONCLAVE has presented THE ROCKWELL AWARD – an annual lifetime achievement award – to an individual of unquestioned accomplishment.

I got a chance to interview John Gehron a few times over the years (including this one from 2009). I also worked for him when he was a CBS bigwig and with him on John Landecker's book (he was a wealth of information and photos). In a cutthroat business, John is a decent man, roundly respected by all. There's no one more deserving of an award like this.

The Season Begins Today

The Sweetest Words

Bill Holub is an old friend and colleague from my days at the Loop. My first year writing this blog (Eleven years ago!) I asked him to write about a phrase he used to utter every year in the hallways of the Loop when he heard that spring training was beginning. He called it "The Sweetest Words in the English Language." It's become a tradition to repost his piece every year on that momentous day.

Today's the day for the Cubs!

And this year I can barely contain my excitement.

By Bill Holub

“Pitchers and catchers report”.

These are indeed the sweetest words in the English language. Friends have been hearing me recite this every year at this time. I once had an old poker playing friend who used to say the sweetest words have always been “I’ll play these”. This is the same friend who couldn’t win even when dealt a pat hand. That however is a story for another time and place, where an explanation of the relationship between the quantity of beer consumed, what the cards in your hand really look like and the amount of money you bet can be fully explored. It’s really something scientists should be looking at.

In the meantime, I apologize to all those who came here looking for a sentimental dialogue on romance. I’m sorry to say it but the sweetest words in the English language are not “I love you”. Now that I think of it, this may instead be a sentimental dialogue on romance and baseball.

It’s funny how the two always converge around Valentine’s Day. Spring fever is referred to as that time of year when things start to bloom as the weather changes and love is in the air. It is no coincidence that this is the same time the baseball season opens and brings hope to all of us diehard baseball romantics.

My love affair with baseball was re-ignited in 1987-88. There was only one place to catch baseball highlights from all over the major leagues back then. Once a week you could tune in to “This Week In Baseball” with good ol’ Mel Allen. During those two seasons I was hooked into witnessing two West Coast baseball Gods embodied in the forms of a young Mark Mcgwire and Jose Canseco. This is before anyone had ever heard of andro, anabolics and the other chemical cocktails that have since cast a pall over these two. Back then, I was treated week in and week out to mammoth sized home runs flying out of every ballpark in the country. The fact that these home runs were being hit by players wearing what my brother and I had always considered the coolest looking baseball uniforms in the world (the Oakland A’s green and gold) had me embracing the game I grew up on all over again.

By 1989 I was so hooked on this game I even started collecting baseball cards again, although as much as an investor as a fanboy. I also started another nasty habit that impacts my life to this day. That is when I started a fantasy baseball league with a bunch of guys at work. 1989 also happened to be a division winning season for my beloved Cubs, so I was in baseball heaven and haven’t looked back since.


I think we can honestly say that baseball is no longer the national pastime in this country. It has been supplanted by football. I can accept that. Although I would insist the true national pastime is gambling, which is the driving force that makes football the number one spectator sport in America. I suppose I could go off on a George Carlin type of rant here on the differences between football and baseball, but that’s not why I’m writing this piece.

I just want to point out there is one major difference between the two and that is commitment. I’m talking about the commitment between baseball fans and football fans. Football is a four month season requiring your undivided attention one day a week, or two if you’re both a college and pro fan. Baseball is a six month season requiring your undivided attention throughout with your favorite team(s) playing as many as five or more games a week.

Baseball is a commitment. I believe it carries as much of a commitment as love. They both require dedication and attention. They can both go awry despite the best laid plans. An early swan dive in the standings in May that ends a team’s season before it even had a chance can be just as painful as not having your phone calls returned after the second or third date. Meanwhile an October champagne shower celebrating a pennant or World Series championship is as sweet and memorable as a ‘yes’ to a question posed on one knee.


Once that warm baseball is back feeling starts sinking in every year, I like to get fully immersed by throwing myself into my favorite baseball movies before the games actually begin. This is my form of spring training.

You’ve got your “Bull Durham”, “Field Of Dreams”, “Major League” (only the first one, please), but there is one movie that hits me in the right spot. “City Slickers” is not a real baseball movie per se, but there’s one scene that remains among my all-time favorites. It’s where the three friends (Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby) are on the cattle drive and passing the time by discussing their favorite baseball memories. Billy Crystal remembers the first time his father took him to Yankee Stadium as a kid and how he had never seen grass that green before. Mickey Mantle even hit a home run that day. Daniel Stern recalls how growing up he and his father never saw eye to eye, but they could always talk about baseball with each other. “We always had baseball” he says.

As for me, one of my earliest baseball memories was getting to take the day off of school with my brother because my Dad got opening day tickets to Wrigley Field. I still remember wearing our warmest winter coats and knit hats, waiting to sit down while the Andy Frain usher brushed the snow off our seats. They don’t make Aprils in Chicago like that any more.


There is a sound that accompanies the words “pitchers and catchers report”. It is the sound of a ball popping into a mitt. The sound of a simple game of catch. It is more than the crack of a bat sound. The sound of a mitt popping brings the memories and feelings of a lifetime of baseball flooding your senses all at once. It happens every time, whether it’s major leaguers or just a game of catch with your dad or your kid. The week pitchers and catchers report there are no cracking bats, only popping mitts. The sweetest sound in the world. “Pitchers and catchers report”. The sweetest words in the English language.

Happy Valentine's Day

The Beatles - All You Need Is Love (Our World 1967) from beatles on Vimeo.

Omarosa On A Rampage

She was the most hated Apprentice contestant ever, but she has been a big Trump supporter, and now works in the White House. Yesterday she got into a heated argument ("like she was going to throw a punch") with a reporter who was once her friend (she asked her to be a bridesmaid at her wedding), and during the argument said the Trump White House was keeping a dossier on certain reporters.

Perfectly normal.

Sheesh. What in the world is going on in Washington?

Naked Coming Back to Playboy

The experiment lasted one year.

Nudes are coming back to Playboy.

Not surprised in the slightest.

Oliver on Trump

I haven't seen the commercials he talks about here, but if they are really running, that's pretty funny.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Medical Issues at the Kaempfer House

I'm probably not going to be doing much blogging today. Son #1 had to be admitted to the hospital last night. A blockage in his esophagus is making it impossible to eat or drink. Surgery will take place sometime today. He's in good spirits and the doctors assure us he'll be fine. But I have to admit I'm a little worried. Praying that it's as uneventful as they hope it will be.

I mentioned this on facebook last night and I'm a little overwhelmed by the support of my friends. Thank you so much for keeping Tommy in your thoughts and prayers. I'm sure he'll be fine, but it sure doesn't hurt to have so many people in your corner.*

*P.S. This picture is not current. He's 21 now, and I'm 21 years older.

UPDATE: He got through the procedure with no problems and is home now. Nearly as good as new. Thanks again for your support. It means a lot to us.

Hoping this is fake news

Have you ever read a story and thought to yourself, "I sure hope this is fake news"?

I had that reaction when I read this story ("The Spy Revolt Against Trump Begins") in the Observer. Here's the quote that freaked me out...

What’s going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that “since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official added in wry frustration.

I checked out the source to see if it's legit. The Observer is a legit British newspaper, but let's keep in mind that the British newspapers have a less than stellar record. The writer of this piece is a conservative National Security expert named John Schindler, who was forced out of the Naval War College after he apparently sent a few penis pictures.

So, if you want to disbelieve this, there is reason to question it a bit. On the other hand, Schindler is an actual former spy himself, so he does have legitimate contacts.

For the moment, I'm filing this one under "wait for more reporting on the subject".

SNL Ratings

Next time the president tweets about how horrible Saturday Night Live is, keep this is mind.

Their ratings are through the roof. This is something that ratings-obsessed president surely knows.

The Grammy Awards

I actually watched a good portion of the show last night, and there were some incredible highlights.

The Bruno Mars tribute to Prince was amazing. I couldn't find a video of it this morning to post, but if you can find it, it's well worth a viewing.

But to me, this was the funniest part of the show. From the RAMP Newsletter...

As has been the case for the past several years, 75 of the 84 Grammys were awarded before the broadcast, leaving lots of room for performances and memorable "Grammy Moments™®℠©... like this one: twenty one pilots, who dropped their tuxedo pants on their way up to the stage to accept their Grammy for Best Pop Duo Or Group Performance for "Stressed Out," honoring a vow they made to themselves years ago as starving artists that if they ever won a Grammy they would do so in their underwear. In closing, Tyler Joseph offered this sage advice to other struggling artists, declaring, "Anyone from anywhere can do anything."