Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chicago Radio Spotlight: Connie Szerszen

This week I interview Connie Szerszen. Connie was a trailblazer for women broadcasters during her stints at WSDM and WIND in the 1970s.

Read the interview here.

Cubtober 10th

Chicago Cubs fans have had better Octobers than October 2009. Here's an example of a year they were still following the team in October, and why.

On this date in 1908, the defending champion Cubs begin the World Series against the Detroit Tigers.

This will be their last World Series championship.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Cubtober 9th

Chicago Cubs fans have had better Octobers than October 2009. Here are a few examples of years where they were still following the team in October, and why.

On this date in 1906, the Cubs and White Sox begin their one and only World Series against each other. The Sox win Game 1, 2-1, in front of only 12,000 or so fans at West Side Grounds.

On this date in 1938, the Cubs are knocked out of 1938 World Series at Yankee Stadium in front of 56,000+ fans. This turns out to be Lou Gehrig’s last game (although he doesn't know it at the time). He gets a single in his last at-bat and scores a run.

On this date in 1945, the Cubs play their final World Series game ever. They're blown out 9-3 by the Detroit Tigers in Wrigley Field.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Matt Holiday

That was a positively Cubs-esque way to end the Cardinals-Dodgers game. 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth, an easy fly ball is hit to Matt Holiday to end the game and give the Cardinals the win, but then, as Ron Santo would say...


Brant Brown, where are you?


Most annoying fans in all of team sports according to Spike TV?

Cub fans.

Least relevant network in all of cable television according to viewers?

Spike TV.

Haven't watched one second of it.

Cubtober 8th

Chicago Cubs fans have had better Octobers than October 2009. Here are a few examples of years where they were still following the team in October, and why.

On this date in 1907, the Cubs begin the 1907 World Series against the Detroit Tigers. The game is called a tie after 12 innings.

On this date in 1929, the World Series begins at Wrigley Field (Cubs vs. A's). It's the first World Series game ever to be played at Wrigley. The Cubs lose.

On this date in 1945, the Cubs win their last World Series game at Wrigley Field. Stan Hack doubles off Dizzy Trout (Steve's dad) in the bottom of the 12th inning to knock in the winning run against the Tigers. That win forces a decisive Game 7.

It's also the anniversary of the Chicago Fire, but that was five years before the Cubs were founded, and I think it's safe to say...that October was worse.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Jose Cardenal

Happy 66th birthday to one of my all-time favorite Cubs.

I met him once...a story I tell everyone I meet.

Cubtober 7th

Chicago Cubs fans have had better Octobers than October 2009. Here are a few examples of years where they were still following the team in October, and why.

On this day in 1935, the Cubs are eliminated from the World Series by the Detroit Tigers. It happens in heartbreaking the bottom of the ninth of Game 6.

On this day in 1984, Leon Durham goes down for a ball and it scoots right through his legs, costing the Cubs a shot at the 1984 World Series.

On this day in 2003, the heavily favored Cubs, fresh off their only playoff series victory since 1908, begin the NLCS versus the Florida Marlins. They lose Game 1 on a Mike Lowell home run in the ninth.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

$everance reviews

I was looking for information about an upcoming interview subject on the internet last night and I stumbled onto a site called "Good Reads." It's basically a book review site.

Imagine my surprise when I found twelve reviews of $everance. They were all good reviews. Here are a few from the last few months (remember, it came out two years ago):

From Sarah Gorr...

"As a public over-saturated with exposure to the media and information being beamed to us from all directions, Rick Kaempfer’s latest book, $everence, provides a hilariously entertaining inside look at the world of politics, persona and media consolidation. Kaempfer doesn’t just ask the question, “What happens when it all goes too far?” but suggests the outcome and it is not pretty.

One of $everance’s greatest advantages in delivering its message is its use of humor and avoidance of dry political and corporate jargon. While an inside term or two might pop-up, Kaempfer’s book doesn’t seem to be preaching to the choir; it’s an open invitation for even those with little or no knowledge of the media’s inner workings or its political wheelings and dealings to join the conversation. Whether you’re news junkie, undecided, uninformed or just plain apathetic, $everence is a clever and enjoyable read for anyone exposed to the media; and that’s everyone."

From Tisbutehname...

"Severance: an indictment of spurious journalism? Check! Severance: a Laodicean account of the annoying nature of political zealots? Check! Severance: a hilarious satire about the trials and tribulations that accompany…trying to get fired? Check!

It’s a battle of attrition for Chicago radio DJ Tom Zagorski and long time on-air partner Richard Lawrence. In a vain corporate attempt to get the duo to quit, relieving the company of their fat severance checks, the once prominent talk radio show now features less talk and more commercials, as well as news read from day old papers. Zagorski’s atomic bomb of insubordination backfires and in no time he ironically becomes a Wall Street golden boy and big shot for the second largest media conglomerate in the world.

As Zagorski and Lawrence navigate their way through New York City’s maze of CEOs, conservative hotshots, bad journalists, liberal loudmouths, and vomit inducing cab drivers, trying to piss them all off and play them against one another isn’t as easy as it seems. Every absurd scheme the two come up with—from redecorating an office to resemble an epic Hollywood movie, or completely destroying what was left of objective reporting (and a lot in between)—their plans only result in more praise and more unwanted attention. Author Richard Kaempfer mixes humor with sadism to great result: each success, when Zagorski only wants failure, brings with it bigger laughs, more outrageous characters, and ‘nothing-good-can-come-of-this’ situations.

Severance is a carefully balanced satire about the post-deregulation liberal and conservative on-air personalities, as well as the behind the scenes puppet masters, that saturate the media with their opinions, but don’t be surprised when you see animal rights activists, film producers, and Celine Dion dressed as nun. You name it, Severance has got it, and Kaempfer, through the admirably indifferent Zagorski, exposes the weakness, hypocrisy and foolishness in each and every one of them.

By staying objective, Severance does not crumble under the weight of its observations on the degradation of journalism into a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ profession. It does not, like so many of its characters, become hypocritical or biased; on the other hand, it remains satisfyingly ambivalent, and genuine all the way to its final sentence. As good satire can, Severance will make you laugh, but just as quickly it can scare the pants off of you. Though some of the characters are absurd, the novel is not. Severance is an accurate appraisal of the ongoing mutations happening to a very crucial industry, and a highly recommended read."

From Jennifer...

"It all started with an office prank—a memo radio DJ Tom Zagorski i sends out from his station’s office in Chicago to the entire Sierra Megamedia Corporation (a media giant that owns not only Zagorski’s radio station, but many others, along with television networks, movie studios, and publishing houses). The memo suggests techniques to save money—like installing security guards to keep employees from stealing office supplies—as well as techniques to raise money, like Nascarization, which basically encompasses stamping everything visible with some sort of advertisement during news broadcasts. To Zagorski and his fellow employees, the memo is an obvious farce. Its suggestions are so ridiculous that Zagorski hopes he’ll be fired from the job he’s grown to hate, and gain him the only thing he really wants: his severance pay. To his (and my) very great surprise, his memo lands him the COO position of the entire Sierra Megamedia Corporation.

Many others would run with a position like this. After all, it allows use of the company credit card, the company Jet, suites in the best hotels all over the country, and dinner in the best restaurants (all of which author Richard Kaempfer describes enough to make Zagorski’s sudden rise pretty enviable). The world is virtually at Zagorski’s fingertips. So what does he do? He sticks to his original plan, now on a much greater scale: he sets out to destroy the company & everything it represents. He wants the company’s stock to plummet so badly that they will have no choice but to fire him—which means he’ll still get his severance pay. It doesn’t hurt that in the meanwhile, he’ll be hurting a pretty corrupt organization.

Which is why Zagorski is ultimately so likeable. Even when he’s handed everything, he doesn’t sell out. He sticks to his convictions with a sort of bumbling, sarcastic grace. He remains loyal to his friends and always has a kind word for the otherwise ignored. Kaempfer does an excellent job in drawing out each of his characters—even the ones I hated—into very realistic, vivid, three dimensional people.

My biggest problem with $everance was situations where I ended up thinking, “that wouldn’t happen!” But $everance’s biggest fault is also one of its strongest qualities. The over-the-top scenarios Kaempfer creates serve as satire of social issues—they prove a point. By putting them in such an exaggerated context, Kaempfer grabs our attention; then, with unrelenting honesty, he drives the matter home.

$everance is one of the few books that made me laugh out loud several times. It’s enjoyable for all of the normal reasons—an interesting plot, good writing, great characters, thoughtful symbols—but also serves a greater cause. I highly recommend picking it up."

What a country

I think Yakov Smirnov said it best..."What a country!" I think Levi Johnston agrees...

Cubtober 6th

Chicago Cubs fans have had better Octobers than October 2009. Here are a few examples of years where they were still following the team in October, and why.

On this day in 1984, Steve Garvey sticks a dagger into the Cubs when he hits a home run off Lee Smith in the bottom of the ninth to tie the series and send it to a Game 5.

Read all about that day here.

On this day in 2007, the Cubs were eliminated from the playoffs by the vastly inferior Arizona Diamondbacks.

Read all about that day here.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Cubtober 5th

Chicago Cubs fans have had better Octobers than October 2009. Here are a few examples of years where they were still following the team in October, and why.

On this date in 1938, the World Series, Cubs vs. Yankees begins.

Read all about that incredibly memorable series here.

On this date in 2003, the Cubs do something they haven't done since 1908--they win a playoff series, knocking off the Atlanta Braves.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Cubtober 4th

Chicago Cubs fans have had better Octobers than October 2009. Here are a few examples of years where they were still following the team in October, and why.

On this day in 1989, the Cubs vs. Giants NLCS begins.

Read all about it here.

On this day in 2008, the Cubs vs. Dodgers NLDS ends.

Read all about that here.

Father Knows Nothing

I just posted my latest Father Knows Nothing column at NWI Parent. This one is called "How the other half lives" and it's about one big difference between raising boys and girls.

You can read it here.