Friday, June 24, 2022

Eckhartz Everyday

 

*Today is Eckhartz Press author Roger Badesch's birthday. Of course Roger wrote the memorable memoir The Unplanned Life for us. It's still available at Eckhartz Press.

*Mick Fleetwood is also celebrating a birthday today. Mick rated an entire chapter in two different Eckhartz Press books, We Have Company by Bobby Skafish, and Everything I Know I Learned From Rock Stars by Bill Paige.

*On this day in 2021, Eckhartz Press author Paul Banks appeared on WGN Radio to discuss his book Transatlantic Passage with fellow Eckhartz Press author John Records Landecker.

*On this day in 2019, I appeared on Garry Meier's show on WLS Radio to talk about my book EveryCubEver. It was my first time ever on a radio show with Garry since we worked together on the Steve & Garry show in the late 80s/early 90s.



Thursday, June 23, 2022

38 years ago today

Eckhartz Everyday

*On this day in 2014, Eckhartz Press author Bruce Bohrer held the launch party for his book Best Seat in the House: Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher. If you'd like to relive that party, click here.

*Today is TV producer Bob Vorwald's birthday. He reviewed Ryan Trembath's Eckhartz Press book Signature Shoes, and this is what he had to say...“A loose mental inventory has me concluding I’ve owned around 200 pairs of shoes in my life. None will ever stand up to the 1979 white Adidas Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hi-tops I had for my last year of high school basketball. I played better (there was nowhere to go but up) knowing that I looked better. Those shoes were sweet and I thank Ryan for this fun project which sparked this memory.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Maradona

From the Writing Archives--Unhandy Man


 I wrote this column for Shore Magazine. Today, on the anniversary of the first Home Depot opening (in 1978), I thought it was appropriate to post it once again. It's called "Unhandy Man"


I used to feel guilty about my skills as a handyman. I don’t have any. I’m more of a “Wow your hands are really soft, do you use Palmolive?” kind of guy. If it’s broken, I can’t fix it. That’s not just being defeatist, that’s fifty-plus years of experience saving me lots of heartache and humiliation. And I used to feel very guilty about it.

After all, I’m a man, a son, a husband, and a father. For years I felt the shameful sting of being unhandy. My widowed mother would give me that “Where did I go wrong?” look when she asked for my help with something in her house. My wife would give me that “I didn’t read the fine print when I married this guy” look every time something broke in our house. My three sons said “How can I ever be handy when you’re my father?” with their eyes. Each and every look from them was a dagger.

The shame I felt wasn’t confined to my family’s opinion of me—it was a society-wide shame. When we would go to neighborhood parties, the men would inevitably congregate near the grill, and I would pray the conversation never turned to home improvement projects. If it did, I knew better than to contribute anything at all to the conversation. I was certain that handy men could smell un-handiness on other men the way dogs smell fear. Any word, any exchanged eye-contact, would expose me. I had a key word or phrase in my back pocket just in case (say “intake manifold” or “drill chuck”), but I only uttered these in uncomfortable silence emergencies.

But that was the old me. I no longer feel guilty, and I no longer feel shame, because I discovered something very important: Nobody in the world is handy.

You read that correctly. 

“Hey wait a minute!” handy-ish guy replies, “I built the addition to my house myself with decorative rocks and a sandblaster.” 

Fine. I’ll grant you, that’s quite impressive. But be honest with me; you’ve had to call a workman at least once or twice over the years, maybe even to “fix” something you already fixed, haven’t you? Did that person utter the following phrase? 

“Whoever worked on this before didn’t know what the heck he was doing.”

That’s what I thought. Don’t feel bad. They say that to everyone, even other handy guys. Maybe you’ve even said it yourself when some unhandy friend asked you to help them out. It’s inevitable. It’s as much a part of the home improvement process as the building supplies themselves (note: I won’t attempt to identify what those are). Before the last nail is hammered, someone will utter the words: 

“Whoever worked on this before didn’t know what the heck he was doing.”

It’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve heard it every single time anyone has done any work in my house. The first ten or fifteen years I heard it, I bought it. I figured I was simply living in bad homes with bad plumbing, appliances, electric, drywall, insulation, siding, windows, bricks, and concrete. Talk about bad luck.

It wasn’t until I heard the same phrase being used at a handy friend’s house when he had a workman out there, that I finally experienced an epiphany. 

A gigantic weight has been lifted from my shoulders now that I know the secret. There are men all over the neighborhood working on their own homes who aren’t handy—they are at best “sort of handy.” And there are men all over the world making a living as “handymen” who will one day be called “someone who didn’t know what the heck he was doing” by the next handyman who comes by. 

I’m no longer upset I can’t do it myself. From now on, when my wife or mother or sons give me that look, I’ll just walk away guilt free. When the guys at the neighborhood party start talking, I won’t be ashamed or avoid the conversation. I’ll just admit the truth unapologetically. 

“I use the yellow pages, fellas, because I don’t know what the heck I’m doing.”

There I said it.

Now where did I put my Palmolive? My baby soft hands are feeling a little dry.


Eckhartz Everyday

 


*Three rock stars share a birthday today; Steven Page from Bare Naked Ladies, Don Henley from the Eagles, and the immortal Todd Rundgren. All of them are featured in the pages of Bobby Skafish's book We Have Company.


*On this day in 2020, the e-book for Keith Conrad's Eckhartz Press novel Righteous Might was released. It's still available at amazon. This was one of our books that might have fallen through the cracks because of the pandemic. If you get a chance to read it, it's very well done.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Studio Walls

     Every week I send my Minutia Men Co-Host Dave Stern a list from our audio archives for this week's Studio Walls feature. These are the possibilities for this week. Which one will he choose?

*June 21st is Don Knott's birthday. We had the incredible Mike Toomey on the show doing his Don Knotts impersonation. (Listen to the entire interview here)

*June 22nd is Todd Rundgren's birthday. We talked to Grand Funk Railroad's Mark Farner about his experience working with Todd. (Listen to the entire interview here)

*June 23, 1993 is the day that Lorena Bobbitt cut off John Wayne Bobbitt's wiener. Naturally we did a song about this on the John Landecker show (AUDIO)

*June 23, 1995 is the day the Disney film Pocohantas was released. Yes, we did a song about that too. It's called the Pocohantas Polka (AUDIO)

*June 24 is Roger Badesch's birthday. He appeared on our podcast talking about his book. (Listen to the entire interview here)

*June 24 is also actor Dave Vescio's birthday. He appeared on Minutia Men Celebrity Interview a few years ago. (Listen to that interview here)



Eckhartz Everyday


 *On this day in 2013, Eckhartz Press author Dan Burns celebrated the launch of his book Recalled To Life. He displayed the painting that inspired the cover of his book. Relive that day, by clicking here.

*Today is Nils Lofgren's birthday. Nils is featured in Bobby Skafish's book We Have Company.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Steely Dan

 


Went to the Steely Dan show last night with my oldest son Tommy. It was a great display of musicianship by an incredibly talented band...and a nice way to spend Father's Day.

Eckhartz Everyday


 *On this day in 2020, Ken Korber released Grace's Musical Haiku Adventure.


*Today is Mark Leepsen's birthday. The acclaimed Vietnam Veteran/Author had the following to say about our book The Living Wills...You have to give credit to Rick Kaempfer and Brendan Sullivan, the two authors of “The Living Wills”. The authors have come up with a cast of realistic, non-sensationalized Vietnam veterans living out their lives in the early 21st century–no Nam vet stereotypes here. That in itself is worth the price of admission.

Minutia Men--Elvis Weddings Have Left the Building

 Hey, we're back! This week's episode is now available. Listen to it here.

The late Yes drummer Alan White, a cereal that doesn’t seem like a great idea for breakfast, Cockroaches, Sex-Ed through fishing, and the end of the great Elvis wedding tradition are among the topics discussed this week by Rick and Dave. [EP273]



Saturday, June 18, 2022

Friday, June 17, 2022

Rock Radio

 I will definitely be there to cover this. From today's Robert Feder column...

Legendary DJs John Records Landecker and Tommy Edwards will reminisce about the golden age of rock radio when they headline a fundraiser for Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications August 14. “Rock Radio Revisited” will be hosted by Wendy Snyder at Ron Onesti’s Des Plaines Theater. (Here is the link for tickets.) Also appearing, according to the museum, will be Kris Erik Stevens, Bob Stroud, Connie Szerszen, Steve King, Gary Burbank, Cousin Brucie Morrow and Dyana Williams. “The heyday of rock radio in the ’60s and ’70s was centered around the booming personalities of DJs like Larry Lujack, John Records Landecker, Yvonne Daniels, Bob Sirott and Steve King,” David Plier, chairperson of the museum board, said in a statement. “Every city had their favorite local radio station and the voices behind them. This will be an incredible celebration of the personalities and music that made that era of rock and roll so memorable.”

Happy Birthday Eckhard Kaempfer

 Today would have been my father's 87th birthday. Unfortunately, he's not here to celebrate it with us. Dad passed away 33 years ago at the age of 54.

On the anniversary of his birth I thought it would be fun to go back to this story I wrote about his last Christmas on this earth (in 1988). It involves long-time Channel 7 anchorwoman Mary Ann Childers...


Why do I often think of a local Chicago news anchor when I think of my Dad?


It's a very odd story. I was the producer of the Steve and Garry show on WLUP, and we did a very special Christmas show one year--a full reading of the stage version of "A Christmas Carol" starring many local celebrities.

Among the celebrities present that day: Mary Ann Childers.

I don't remember what part Mary Ann played, but I remember that I cornered her backstage and asked her to do me a big favor. I told her that my father had a thing for her. He didn't say it was time to watch the news--he said it was time to watch Mary Ann. I asked if she would mind sending me an autographed picture of herself for Dad.

She seemed very flattered, but I really didn't expect her to do it. I figured she was a busy person and this was such a low priority that she probably wouldn't get around to it. That's probably why I was blown away when she sent me her promo picture with a personal note to my Dad saying... "It was a pleasure working with your son, Rick." The picture itself says "To Eckhard--Warmest Wishes for Christmas 1988. Mary Ann Childers."

I'll never forget how excited Dad was when he opened my present to him on Christmas Eve that year. I captured it on film...




















Dad died six months later at the age of 54.

After he died I went to his office to clean out his things, and there she was, right in the middle of his desk: Mary Ann Childers. His co-workers told me that he joked with them about this picture all the time, saying that Mary Ann was his secret girlfriend.


Sunday is Father's Day. It's always a rough weekend for me. For the first twenty five years of my life, Father's Day weekend was a tribute to Dad. (And not just because it was Father's Day--it was his birthday too.) So, even now--thirty three years later, I struggle to enjoy Father's Day. I can't help thinking of Dad--and how much I miss him.

That's where Mary Ann Childers helps out.

When I don't want my sadness to ruin Father's Day for my kids, all I have to do is think of Mary Ann Childers. I remember how excited Dad was to get this picture from his "girlfriend," and it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

I've seen Mary Ann Childers a few times since Dad died--and I re-thanked her each time. Somehow I still don't think that's enough, so I'll say it again.

Thank You, Mary Ann.

One small gesture from you gave my Dad six months of enjoyment...and gave me thirty three years of comfort.

I'll never be able to repay you for that.

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Happy birthday to Chicago TV legend Tom Weinberg (WTTW). Tom wrote a fascinating book for us about his search for a lost city in Central America (Honduras to be exact). The book is called Chasing the Lost City. It includes some incredible photos like these below...