Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Bloodbath at Channel 2

A lot of good professionals lost their jobs today. Robert Feder has the details...

The legendary Pam Zekman, one of Chicago television’s premier investigative reporters, was among at least a dozen employees at WBBM-Channel 2 who lost their jobs today in sweeping companywide layoffs at CBS, sources said.

Others cut reportedly included morning news anchor Erin Kennedy, sports anchor Megan Mawicke, meteorologist Megan Glaros, and reporters Mike Puccinelli and Mai Martinez, according to insiders.

Sink the Bismarck

Cubs history: On this day in 1941, while the Royal Navy was sinking the legendary German battleship Bismarck, the Cubs were losing in the bottom of the 9th to the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park. Jake Mooty took the loss. #Cubs #everycubever

Somehow Jake Mooty didn't get mentioned in Johnny Horton's song, "Sink the Bismarck"...

RIP Matt Keough

Missed this news a few weeks ago. Ex-Cub pitcher Matt Keough (Cubs '86) passed away on May 1st. He was only 65. In his later years he appeared on The Real Housewives of Orange County with his estranged wife. His father also played for the Cubs (in 1966). Marty Keough is 86.

RIP Richard Herd

You probably didn't know his name, but surely you knew his face...RIP.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Cubs history: On the day the novel “Dracula” was published by Irish author Bram Stoker (today in 1897), Hall of Famer Clark Griffith led the Cubs (then known as the Colts) to a 6-2 win over the Giants at West Side Grounds. #Cubs #everycubever

Inside for Indies

I was happy to contribute to this campaign. Please join me in helping Indie book stores...

When you've lost Ann Coulter...

Unmanly man

Tom Nichols is a Never-Trumper. He has previously criticized Trump pretty harshly (deservedly), but this one is going to leave a mark. From the Atlantic over the weekend...

In the end, Trump will continue to act like a little boy, and his base, the voters who will stay with him to the end, will excuse him. When a grown man brags about being brave, it is unmanly and distasteful; when a little boy pulls out a cardboard sword and ties a towel around his neck like a cape, it’s endearing. When a rich and powerful old man whines about how unfairly he is being treated, we scowl and judge; when a little boy snuffles in his tears and says that he was bullied—treated worse than Abraham Lincoln, even—we comfort.

Donald Trump is unmanly because he has never chosen to become a man. He has weathered few trials that create an adult of any kind. He is, instead, working-class America’s dysfunctional son, and his supporters, male and female alike, have become the worried parent explaining what a good boy he is to terrorized teachers even while he continues to set fires in the hallway right outside.

I think that working men, the kind raised as I was, know what kind of “man” Trump is. And still, the gratification they get from seeing Trump enrage the rest of the country is enough to earn their indulgence. I doubt, however, that Trump gives them the same consideration. Perhaps Howard Stern, of all people, said it best: “The oddity in all of this is the people Trump despises most, love him the most. The people who are voting for Trump for the most part … He’d be disgusted by them.” The tragedy is that they are not disgusted by him in return.

Bob & Doug

Wait a second here. The two astronauts who will be flying that SpaceX spaceship are named Bob & Doug. And that's how SpaceX refers to them.

I'm hoping they discover some back bacon.

Record Ratings

How desperate are we for live sports? The Champions for Charity golf match featuring Phil Mickelson & Tom Brady versus Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning set a record for the most watched cable golf event in history.

Details here.

I watched a few hours of it too. I was really enjoying Tom Brady struggling, until of course, he turned it around. He made a shot from the fairway directly into the hole.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Brooklyn Bridge

On the day the Brooklyn Bridge finally opened (May 24, 1883), connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan for the first time, the 1st place Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) were in Chicago playing the Providence Grays. SP Larry Corcoran won 34 games that year, but lost on this day

What not to do, kids

This moron has been arrested...

Fogerty & Family

John Fogerty has been spending the quarantine singing some of his classic songs with his kids. There are lots of them here. I found this one the most interesting because it isn't his song, and I've never heard him do it. It's a great version of Steve Goodman's "City of New Orleans"...

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Bonnie & Clyde

On the day outlaws Bonnie & Clyde were gunned down by lawmen in Louisiana (May 23, 1934), Mel Ott homered in the first for New York, and Guy Bush lost his first game of the year. Final score: Giants 5—Cubs 2.

Frank Costanza Behind the Scenes

Minutia Men--Cubs and Cows

I don't think Dave has ever interviewed anyone with more joy--a Cubs fan who might be a bigger Cubs nerd than me @onemillioncubs #Cubs Fun interview: Listen to it here.

Inclusive Chicago

Friday, May 22, 2020

RIP Jerry Sloan

His number hangs from the rafters of the United Center. Jerry Sloan was the first Bulls star, and later coached against the Jordan Bulls twice in the NBA Finals.

Jerry was 78 years old.

Free Kicks--German Soccer Returns

Adam and Rick analyze the return of professional soccer in Germany. No crowds, No high fives, and no defense. Also a check-in with the Premier League’s Project Restart and see if it’s still on track for a June start. [Ep69]

Listen to it here.

Jerry Lee Lewis

On the day Jerry Lee Lewis announced in London that he had married his 13-year-old cousin Myra, (May 22, 1958), the Cubs beat the Phillies 7-4 at Connie Mack Stadium in Philly, behind the pitching of Moe Drabowsky and the hitting of Ernie Banks (4 RBI).


It looks like the Dems are hiring the Republicans to make their ads for them this go-round. Good idea. They don't pull any punches...

Randy Richardson

Eckhartz Press author (and CWA President) Randy Richardson joins the Inside for Indies campaign...

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Made Me Laugh

Lossano and Friends

Tony Lossano is re-running classic Lossano and Friends from the beginning. This week's show features me. I don't remember what I said, but I'm sure it was witty and humble. Others on the show include Ryan Chiaverini (Windy City Live), Jenniffer Weigel (journalist/author/host), Jim Gronemann, Ashley Lobo, Chris Cwiak, Ann Sheehan and Tony Lossano. Enjoy all 5 seasons of Lossano and Friends!

Listen Here:

Cap and the Red Cross

On the day Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross (May 21, 1881), the Cubs (known then as the White Stockings) broke protocol and batted first despite playing in Boston. They won 4-2. Cap Anson was hitting over .400 and ended the season at .399.

Q&A with Eckhartz Press author Ken Korber

Children’s author Ken Korber has been on a bit of a roll. His series of books for very young children has taken off, and he has several very exciting upcoming projects. His latest book for Eckhartz Press is a public service: Grace Fights Covid-19

Rick: Ken, all of your books feature the main character of Grace Note. Tell us about her, where she came from, and who illustrated her.

Ken: Our girl character, “Grace”, did indeed have her origin story as a grace note — that was the magical story line of the Winter book in the Musical Adventures of Grace series.

The creative spark for Grace came from a question I asked my musically-talented son: What’s that little note on the music sheet page? Why is it so small…?

His reply — that’s a grace note; it’s usually insignificant in terms of hearing the music, but sometimes a conductor will have an orchestra play it louder as a way to add “color” to the music… and, as they say, the rest is history.

I, initially, was thinking about an underdog-type story (a small note that became a big note), but that morphed into the development of a story line where an insignificant grace note is changed into a little girl through the magic of a holiday concert…

The first 3 stories in The Musical Adventures of Grace series, sprang from that Winter event and were illustrated by Pam Frazier. But, nowadays, I use Jaime Buckley for most of my new character plots and spin-off stories.

Rick: On our site we switch out some of the Grace books by season. Right now you can find the Spring and Summer books about Grace. There’s also a Fire Prevention book available year round. Can you tell us a little bit about those books?

Ken: The Winter book gave me the opportunity to introduce Grace to the world as a new character; and the follow-up Spring and Summer stories allowed me to expand her world and bring new friends into the story mix. For example, the Spring book has Fortissimo and Harry (two brothers) moving into the house across the street from Grace. Spring also brings Arco the dog into their world, as Grace’s puppy.

The Summer story brings back Maestro Vik (from the Winter book) and has another adult, Curly-the-violin-maker, interacting with Grace & Arco.

As you can see, we try to sneak in some music terms & instruments for younger readers — with the ulterior motive of introducing a variety of music vocabulary into the story lines.

This was deliberate and organic – created from the advice I had received from music educators (who, in their STEAM teaching worlds, are trying to introduce music appreciation concepts earlier than the middle school years…)

The creation and production of the Burn Prevention & Fire Safety book served two purposes (1) a way to create spin-off health-related stories from the original Musical Adventures series, and (2) to begin a formal process that supported aspiring authors and first-time writers – a type of mentorship program.

For this book, my co-author, Paul Possenti, is a classmate of mine who became a Medical Director in a burn center. We developed an alliance over the paucity of patient education materials in the Burn Prevention / Fire Safety arena. We launched the book at the podium of the 2019 American Burn Association conference and presented it as a case study in community engagement.

Some of the testimonials we’ve received say the book will have an immediate impact on the work fire departments are doing…

It was a timely and fulfilling writing alliance, for many at-risk communities, and we have a new edition being produced, now.

Rick: Grace’s latest book about Covid 19 is providing a valuable service for parents with young kids. Tell us a little about what inspired you to write that, and where it is being consumed.

Ken: The upside-down world, resulting from this pandemic, essentially took away some traditional formats for authors to share their work with new readers. We can no longer host or be part of book signing events that allow prospective customers to touch and browse our books, in a live face-to-face environment. So, we have to find other venues or formats that let us be the creative advocates of our stories and characters…

In the case of my COVID book, I found (in communicating with my established customers) that there was some generic anxiety, among young parents, about how to explain our “new normal” and dramatic/mandated social behavior changes to the youngsters in the family.

So, “Grace Fights COVID-19…” and the Bug Squad idea was created, almost as a public service announcement for families with emerging readers.

We now have a tool parents can use to communicate (In kid-friendly terms) and explain what a coronavirus is, why it makes people sick, what we are doing about preventing that from happening to the people we love, etc.

I believe it’s the first kid-centric book that uses my characters to invite the young readers to “join the fight” by washing their hands and adopting socially distancing practices — for a better public health outcome.

We actually got a grant to distribute 185 copies of the Bug Squad book throughout communities.

So, I was part of an industrial Mask Giveaway and Food Drive community event, recently — A new way for an author to meet his reading audience.

I hope we’ll be able to participate in more of these public safety events. It’s a great way to show authors in a health & safety spotlight… one where you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see them.

Rick: You are a prolific gentleman. Coming next month you have yet another book coming out. Tell us about that one, and how that came to be.

Ken: I guess the pandemic gives us authors some additional germination time for new ideas…

My unique Musical Adventures model has the characters combine reading skills with the introduction of music vocabulary and uses their stories to promote health & wellness for the next generation of responsible citizens.

So, I wanted to explore other ways to use that musically-themed approach and the Musical Haiku Adventure book became a thing for me.

Now Grace is a poet, I guess. We’ll see if the reading world agrees with that new dimension of her personality…

Rick: And finally, there is a really exciting project on the horizon for you and this series. Tell everyone about who you are teaming up with, and what kind of books we can expect from this team in the near future.

Ken: I am really excited about this project. I have teamed-up with the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and their effort. We will be using a new children’s book “Grace’s Rockin’Roll Adventure” as a vehicle to bring the history of rock and roll to younger students. And the unexpected element of this story is that Steven Van Zandt (of Bruce Springsteen’ band fame and a major character in the Sopranos cable TV show) will be the character who gives Grace her first electric guitar— as part of the story!

We are scheduled to be shelf-ready for the Fall of 2020, with this joint-project, and certainly will have it available for this upcoming holiday season…