Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Years Eve Comedy Show

If you're looking for something to do on New Years Eve, I've got a recommendation for you. My old Loop buddy Spike Manton and his long-time writing collaborator Tim Clue are producing a New Years Eve concert at the Hemmens Cultural Center: “The New Year’s Comedy Show for People Who Can’t Stay Up ‘Til Midnight!”

The headliner is Rocky LaPorte, who you've probably seen on HBO, Letterman and Leno. (You can see him here too)

With Special Musical Guest Sons of the Never Wrong

Plus, and I think this could be very interesting, two members of the WGN Morning News team are going to do Stand Up; Sports Geek Pat Tomasulo & Ana Belaval

But for me, the reason I'm considering going to this, is seeing my old pal Spike on stage, and Tim Clue. Tim has one of the best stand up acts I've seen in a very long time.

Tim Clue says, “We are extremely proud to be bringing top notch comedian Rocky LaPorte and the award-winning music of Sons of the Never Wrong. We know there are always high expectations for the show, so this year we’ve also begged WGN-TV Morning News funny peeps Pat Tomasulo and Ana Belaval to come out and showcase their off-screen comedy.”

Pat Tomasulo: “What a great night for a sports dork like me to get some laughs and meet some WGN Morning News fans of Ana Belaval. I don’t think I have fans.”

Ana Belaval: “C’mon, Pat has fans. They just won’t spend money to see him do stand-up.”

Rocky LaPorte: “Yeah, dis’ll be a good show. Hey, who’s Pat Tomasulo?”

Show time 7:30 PM. Rated PG. This show is family-friendly and appropriate for kids 12 and up. Enjoy comedy and music on New Years Eve at The Hemmens Cultural Center—where no seat is farther than 90’ from the stage!

Tickets: Balcony $25 Main $30 Premium $35 Golden Circle $45

Orders will be taken via phone (847-931-5900), via fax (847-931-6007), on-line at, or through the Box Office located in the Hemmens Cultural Center lobby at 45 Symphony Way, Elgin, IL.

Reviews for $everance

Every now and then I get an e-mail from a brand new reader of my first novel "$everance", and it makes me check out what people are saying about it on GoodReads. Since it's been out for 4 years now, there are tons of reviews.

Here are a few recent examples from the last month or so...

Ryan writes:

"I found $everance to be a very entertaining, easy read that I was able to finish in only a few days' time. It is the satirical story of Zagorski, a Chicago morning radio host for a failing station who just wants his severance pay and has met a tough match in the form of a boss who refuses to give it to him and instead is determined to make him quit by making the conditions as horrid as possible.

The book kicks into high gear very early when Zagorski sends an e-mail detailing all kinds of over-the-top, sarcastic tactics to improve the company and save money and includes the CEO of the billion dollar media conglomerate on it.

The CEO takes the e-mail seriously, however, and thinks Zagorski's ideas are brilliant. From there, Zagorski is made into the company COO, incredibly enough. Though many people would be enamored with the possibilities of that kind of a job, Zagorski still only wants his severance pay and pulls ridiculous stunt after ridiculous stunt in an effort to get fired. Nothing works out the way he thinks though, as always of his ridiculous ideas work out because they keep saving the company money or generating more revenue in one ridiculous way or another that Zagorski fails to anticipate.

As someone in the finance industry, I found the storylines here to be uproarious, and was more than willing to forgive the ridiculousness of some of his ideas succeeding in the name of a good satire."

Sandy writes:

“Severance is a black comedy that takes a on the subject of media moguls and the damage to truth in reporting that has resulted from the consolidation of media outlets. According to author Richard Kaempfer, who spent 20 years or so in broadcast media, the men pulling the strings at the six giant media outlets don’t really care whether their stations are pushing liberal or conservative agendas, because all that really matters to these folks is M-O-N-E-Y. Kaempfer’s take on the situation is amusing but at the same time depressing. It appears that the era of true “broadcasters” has come to an end and all we have left are profit-driven businessmen seeking yet one more way to lasso another greenback and place it in the company coffers.

The protagonist in $EVERANCE is a cynical and (according to the “powers that be” in New York’s corporate heaven) obsolete Chicago radio personality named Tom Zagorski, whose job has become redundant but whose employers balk at terminating him and paying him his severance pay. Instead they embark on a path to make his life at the station so miserable he will be forced to quit and thereby save the station 18 months of severance pay.

After many months or back and forth passive-aggressive antics between Tom and his boss Sherman Rose, Tom ultimately reaches his breaking point and sends a taunting e-mail to Sherman with a copy to the corporate CEO suggesting they fire every non-revenue producing employee and engage the services of security guards to protect the office supplies thereby increasing the company’s bottom line profit. Unfortunately for Tom instead of this action being viewed as the derisive message he hoped would result in his termination and the collection of his severance package, he is viewed as a forward thinking boy genius by the CEO as well as the Wall Street pundits and is offered a promotion to COO of the company.

What follows is situation after situation of laugh out loud absurdity that soon morphs into an insightful look into the scandalous environment of corporate America as well as an scathing indictment of our media and the men who control it. (To aid the reader in identifying the guilty, Kaempfer has graciously provided a who’s who glossary of media outlets, what they control, and who is at the helm of each, at the back of his book so that readers don’t have to second guess the true identities of the “imaginary” culprits in his novel.) For those who enjoy their “awful truth” of terrifying possibilities served up with a spoonful of humor, Severance fits the bill."

Jessica writes:

"From start to finish, this hilarious romp through the media business will have you chuckling and all-out laughing! There are so many great jokes as you follow an average guy who just wants one thing - to be fired so he can get his severance package - who ends up finding out that life doesn't always work that way, even when you try hard! With plenty of laughs and irony, the action moves from political mumbo jumbo to Ben Hur to ants drowning in organic kool-aid which will keep you on your toes! This is a highly recommended read for any adult who understands the complexity that arises from a focus on profits, or who has a job they desperately want to escape."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A 25-year-old bet

My weekly contribution to the City Mom blog at ChicagoNow is about the culmination of a twenty-five-year old bet between two of my college roommates; Dave and Steve.

You can read it here.

Some South Side Love for The Living Wills

Brendan Sullivan, co-author of The Living Wills, grew up on the South Side of Chicago. That caught the attention of The Beverly Review. Thanks so much to writer Caroline Connors for the nice write up. The following is a short excerpt from the piece...

Like many novelists, Brendan Sullivan writes what he knows.

Born and raised in Morgan Park and Oak Lawn, Sullivan said memories of his childhood, including those of his father’s daily commute to work on the Rock Island, helped shape the characters and events in his new book, “The Living Wills.”

“That evening, Reed climbed onto the 5:25 p.m. Rock Island train home just like he’d done every weeknight for as long as he could remember. … The rhythm of the train rocked Reed into a comfortable lull. Twenty-six minutes later, he stood up and exited the train at his stop, 95th Street and Longwood Drive, without looking up and without waiting to hear the conductor’s announcement, like an old man who didn’t need an alarm clock, whose body just knew it was time to wake up.”

But “The Living Wills” is not just a trip down memory lane, Sullivan said. More than anything, he said, it was a chance to put his work as a creativity coach into action.

“My real job is to help organizational teams on collaborative creativity,” Sullivan said. “I work with Fortune 500 companies and teach them tangible skills—like listening actively, being in the moment and trusting one another— that they can inject into their environment so that innovative ideas can be developed.

“People were always telling me that I should write a nonfiction book about collaborative creativity, but I’ve read every book on the topic and didn’t think there was much more I could say without being redundant.”

So, Sullivan said, he decided to go one step further and co-write a novel with Rick Kaempfer, a friend from his radio days when he was producing the Jonathan Brandmeier show and Kaempfer was producing the Steve Dahl and Garry Meier program.

“We did a little bit of research and didn’t see anything like this for a novel,” Sullivan said. “There’s a lot of books out there telling people how to be collaborative, but this is showing them that it actually can be done.”

There's much more at the Beverly Review. It's a nice long write up.

Of course, the book Brendan is talking about, The Living Wills, is available at, and it's also available on the South Side at Bookies.

Happy Hanukkah

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Let it Snow!

Type "Let it Snow" into your Google browser and see what happens.

Pretty cool.

But then again, I'm easily impressed by technological developments.

"The Living Wills" on the North Side/South Side

For those of you that simply must buy "The Living Wills" in a bookstore, it is now available on the north side and the south side of Chicago.

On the north side, go to "The Book Cellar" at 4736 N. Lincoln Avenue (right next door to my old hangout "The Brauhaus").

On the south side, go to "Bookies" at 2419 W. 103rd Street in Beverly.

And by the way, "The Living Wills" is also coming soon to the Apple store, amazon, Sony, and Barnes & Noble as an e-book. The paperwork has been filed and it will be available before the end of 2011.

Of course the best way to get it is still via our website at Eckhartz Press (

Moises Alou

Ten years ago today the Cubs signed an outfielder that liked to toughen his hands by urinating on them. Remember him?

Can't recall if he had any memorable moments in a Cubs uniform.

Cubs interested in Rizzo

You may not have heard of Anthony Rizzo, but he appears to be the guy the Cubs are really interested in acquiring to play 1B for them.

He's 22 years old, hit .331 with 26 HR and 101 RBI in only 93 games for San Diego's AAA team last year. The Padres got him in the Adrian Gonzales trade with Boston last year. The GM of Boston at the time was Theo Epstein, and the GM of San Diego was Jed Hoyer. Plus, the Padres just got another young 1B stud in a trade with the Reds (for Mat Latos), which means Rizzo is probably available.

It will cost them, but wouldn't you rather see them get a young stud for once, rather sign a big name free agent that could be 300 pounds in a few years? (Not naming names)

By the way, this Rizzo is no relation to that other Rizzo.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Father Knows Nothing

In this week's Father Knows Nothing column, my 9-year-old son Sean proves the existence of Santa Claus to his friend.

You can read it here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Pinker

I've been on the radio with Geoff Pinkus (known as "The Pinker") once before when my book "$everance" came out. This is the picture they took at the studio that day. (Pinkus and I are the on the far right.)

On Sunday night I'll be on with him again. This time Brendan Sullivan will be joining me, and we'll be discussing our latest book "The Living Wills".

Tune us in at 7pm on WIND (AM 560)

Yu Darvish

The Cubs are interested in Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. From the LA Times...

"Bidding for Darvish, 25, closed Wednesday, and the Nippon Ham Fighters, his Japanese team, have until Tuesday to decide which bid to accept. The bidding process allows major-league teams to send a blind, one-time-only bid to the Fighters to be the only team to negotiate a contract with Darvish. The winning team has 30 days to come to an agreement with the pitcher.

The posting fee, which is paid in addition to whatever contract the team and Darvish settle on, will be paid only if an agreement is reached. If a contract is not agreed on between the player and the highest-posting team, the money is returned. The highest bid in history for a Japanese player was made by the Boston Red Sox, who bid $51 million to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Red Sox's general manager at the time was Theo Epstein, who now serves the same role with the Cubs.

Darvish was 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA and a league-leading 276 strikeouts last season."

Hmmm. Sounds interesting. Obviously the last time it didn't work out so well for Theo. Dick K has been hurt for the last few years. And last time it also didn't work out for the Cubs, Kosuke was nowhere near the player the Cubs thought he would be.

Overheard at Target

I was doing a little Christmas shopping at Target last night and overheard a hilarious conversation. (At least I thought it was hilarious.)

A man was holding up a pair of "Grinch" boxer shorts to his wife, and in a perfect British accent said: "Some say his heart-on grew three sizes that day."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shore Magazine on The Living Wills

Thanks so much to Shore Magazine editor Pat Colander for writing this in her blog today...

"Rick Kaempfer just twittered out yesterday that John Records Landecker will be back on WLS-FM starting this Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Rick was John's producer over 10 years at the legendary Landecker's morning show. And Rick is working with John on his autobiography. I met Rick by telephone when he was the producer of the morning show and I was a listener and a fan. (I had listened enough to know that John lived and loved living near Michigan City in LaPorte County, where I was working at the time.) So Rick and I were soon communicating regularly as we coordinated a Landecker profile and photos. At some point, Rick asked about the possibility of freelancing for our magazine and he had a lot of good ideas and that's what happened. (Rick is a columnist and frequent contributor to Shore and also writes a blog, Father Knows Nothing, about being a stay-at-home Dad with three sons.) Rick also began writing books; one was a novel called Severance about the ramifications of hiring and firing in the world of broadcast. If Severance is a comedy of manners in an insane industry, then Rick's new book written with a partner Brendan Sullivan is something entirely different.

Rick and Brendan developed the story using an improv form called the Harold, created by long-time Second City director the late Del Close when he was a member of a troupe called The Committee in San Francisco in 1967. According to the cover notes the story is about a life-changing decision made by one Henry Stankiewicz and the ramifications over the next 30 years. If you want to find out more about The Living Wills, Rick and Brendan will be on WIND Radio on Sunday, December 18th, at 7 p.m. (easy to remember, only one week before Christmas Day) or visit Rick's website.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

That's Why They Call it Scam "Artist"

I just posted my weekly Suburban Dad contribution to the City Mom blog at ChicagoNow. This week it's about a gifted scam artist from my childhood, and his unfortunate protege living in my house.

You can read it here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Not Being Koyie

The Koyie Hill era is officially over in Chicago too.

He was not offered a contract by new Cubs management.

Totally understandable, if you ask me. When your starting catcher is suspect, at the very least you need a Major League worthy backup. Click on the link above and read the breakdown of his numbers by the Bleed Cubbie Blue website. It's not a pretty sight.

But my son will be bummed. Koyie once gave him a game-used baseball at a Cubs game.


The Aramis Ramirez era is officially over.

The cock-fighting enthusiast is now a Brewer.

He can still hit, but I really thought he would end up in the American League. He's been absolutely horrible at 3B for a few years now.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"The Living Wills" on the Radio

If you were listening to FM News 101.1 over the weekend, you may have heard this brief news story about a new book called "The Living Wills".

That author's name and voice sound familiar to me, but I can't quite place it.

Thanks to Rob Hart for doing the interview.

The Prince of Wrigley?

This little nugget was in Joel Sherman's column in the New York Post over the weekend...

"In canvassing executives, the Cubs were generally viewed as the most likely landing place, mainly for two reasons: 1) A belief that new team president Theo Epstein wants to make a statement sign in his first year and 2) Epstein recognizes the dearth of power in the game and sees Fielder as one of the few bona fide sluggers who will be available over the next few years."

I'm torn. I'll be OK with it as long as it's not one of those ridiculous ten year contracts. But six years? That's something I can live with when you're talking about a 27-year-old.

I'm of the opinion that the Angels are really going to regret that deal with Pujols by year four or five. He'll be 42 when that contract ends. That's just crazy.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Father Knows Nothing

This week's Father Knows Nothing column is entitled "Washing Machine Repairman"

You can read it here.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Rick & Brendan on WGN

If you missed our Wednesday night interview on Brian Noonan's show (WGN Radio-720 AM), they were kind enough to send me MP3s of the interview.

Now you can listen to it here...

Rick and Brendan Part 1
A portion of it is missing (a technical glitch), but much of it is there

Rick and Brendan Part 2

Thanks again to Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas.

And if you're still wondering where to get that book: Click here

Ian Stewart

On the day that the Angels acquired the best hitter (Albert Pujols) and the best pitcher (C.J. Wilson) on the free agent market, the Cubs got...Ian Stewart.

OK, guys. I'm trusting you. It goes against my nature, but I'm trusting you. I said I wasn't feeling this one on my JOBC Facebook page and a few of my JOBC Friends told me that this was a good move, so again...I'm trusting you, Theo.

Ian Stewart did have a pretty good season a few years ago and the pitcher the Rockies threw in the deal was a former first round pick...and Tyler Colvin hasn't been the same since he was impaled in the chest by a bat fragment, and DJ Lemahieu didn't impress me much last summer when he was called I guess it's possible that this is a good deal.

I'll put my doubt back on the shelf for now.

I must say, trusting Cubs management is not as easy as you'd think.


How long as Newt Gingrich been around on the American political scene? When they made fun of him on SNL, he was played by Chris Farley...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Reaction to "The Living Wills"

The book has only been out there for a week, and already we're starting to get some reaction from our first crop of readers...

"Before I say anything else, let me say that I REALLY like it. On several occasions I found myself marveling at how you capture so well the little intricacies of social interactions. The tiniest thing doesn't escape you. Whether it is wating to talk to your boss, having a beer with a friend or dealing with a phone call you don't want to take, everything strikes me as very real. And you do it with sublety. That is a very difficult thing to do. You guys were able to weave several stories together very well, and I never saw a lot of this stuff coming. The dialog is believable and your writing has a very cinematic quality to it. As I was reading it , I could picture characters in my head and kept trying to think of who would play each character in the movie. That's a good thing!"
--Brent P.

"I just finished your must tell me when your next book is coming out. This is fantastic...a very good read."
--Pat S.

We've also been getting reaction to the authors appearance last night on WGN Radio's Sports Night...(Working on getting the audio of the actual interview posted on the blog too)

"Heard your interview on WGN. I'm an actor and currently in Second City's Conservatory. Really liked how you wrote the book and agreed on what you said about improv and yes and. Fantastic way to write a book. Looking forward to reading it."
--Tim S.

"Heard you guys on the air for the first half of the interview on my way home from an event....It was fun to hear you on the air again....and how you guys did it! Although it's a "GUYS" book - I suppose this chic will get herself a copy... :) I wish you much success. Okay - now enough with the foofy stuff....go have fun and a great holiday season. Can't wait to read it!"
--Andi K.

"Listening to you on the radio right now! Can't wait to read it and get your autograph!"
--Heidi F.

AP Source: Pujols to the Angels

It looks like he has agreed to a ten year contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

Now all he needs is Carlos Marmol to be traded to the American League, so he can keep on hitting those monster 9th inning home runs.

City Mom responds to Suburban Dad

Kim Strickland comments on the Suburban Dad column I wrote for her site yesterday. She makes a few good points about the weird coincidences between us...

"Rick touches on how freaky the coincidences have been, but they are REALLY freaky. These friends we have in common are not mere acquaintances. One of my friends from high school had been their family friend for over 50 years! One of my good flight school buddies, (a classmate--pilots know what this means) was Rick's BEST friend growing up. And don't even get me started on how we would post to this blog during the Exact. Same. Minute. (!) until we agreed on Rick's Wednesday schedule."

It is definitely weird. No doubt about it.


He was sentenced to 14 years in prison yesterday, and Lord knows his flaws have been publicly displayed for all to see over the past few years, but there is one thing to remember about Rod Blagojevich. He's not irredeemable.

He is, after all, a Cubs fan.

Think they get Comcast Sports or WGN in prison?

Let There Be Lights!

70 years ago today, the same day that FDR made his "Date in Infamy" speech to the nation urging national sacrifice as the country went to war, Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley took the president's words to heart and donated his most recent purchase. He had been planning on installing lights at Wrigley Field for the 1942 season. But, when duty called, Wrigley answered. He donated those lights to the United States Army, figuring they could help with the war effort.

In the last 36 years of his life, P.K. Wrigley stubbornly refused to shell out the money for lights again. They weren't purchased until eleven years after his death, in 1988...a full 47 years after Pearl Harbor.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

On the Radio Tonight

It's been quite awhile since I've been in a radio studio, but I will be tonight. Tune in around 9:00pm to Sports Night on WGN Radio (720). My co-author Brendan Sullivan and I will be on the air talking about our new book "The Living Wills". Looking forward to chatting with Brian Noonan and the rest of the gang.

Odd Coincidences

This week's Suburban Dad contribution to the City Mom blog at ChicagoNow is about the weird coincidences City Mom Kim Strickland and I have experienced over the thirty years of our friendship

You can read it here.

Pearl Harbor Day

70 years ago today...a date that will in infamy.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Monday, December 05, 2011

Ron Santo

Finally. A Hall of Famer.

The JOBC Souvenir Stand

A note for all of you Christmas shoppers out there, even though our website Just One Bad Century has closed down shop for the off-season, the JOBC Souvenir Stand remains open. There are a handful of different shirt options, not to mention our popular JOBC hat.

The "Losing is soooo last century" shirt is a popular choice this year. It looks like optimism has returned to Wrigley Field.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Father Knows Nothing

This week's "Father Knows Nothing" column has been posted. I'm calling this one "10,000 Favors".

You can read it here.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The Catalyst Ranch

From the e-newsletter of the Catalyst Ranch, a chance to meet Eckhartz Press authors Brendan Sullivan and Rick Kaempfer in person at the very location they improvised the story lines of "The Living Wills"...

Match Books: THE LIVING WILLS by Brendan Sullivan & Rick Kaempfer

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 6pm - 8pm

One novel, two authors!? Creativity coach Brendan Sullivan wants to show you, not tell you how he used the same techniques he brings to clients like Kellogg's, PepsiCo, GE and Harley-Davidson (improv, mind mapping and other ideation processes) to create a just-published novel with co-author, Rick Kaempfer. Much of the work was done during sessions right here at the Ranch! Join us as Brendan & Rick share these techniques with you and show you how to incorporate them into your life and work to be more creatively productive. Rick Kogan of the Chicago Tribune calls THE LIVING WILLS "rollicking and real on so many levels." This Match Books session is not to be missed!

Radio Interviews

Brendan Sullivan and I will begin making the media rounds promoting "The Living Wills" over the next few weeks if you're interested. So far, we've been booked on two shows.

On Wednesday night (December 7) we'll be on WGN Radio (Sports Night) with David Kaplan, Brian Noonan (photo), and Andrea Darlas at 9:00 PM. (I've interviewed all three of them at Chicago Radio Spotlight over the years. Click on their names to read those interviews)

On December 18th we'll be "Living Large with Geoff Pinkus" on WIND radio (560 AM) at 7:00 PM. (I've also interviewed Pinkus at Chicago Radio Spotlight)

Looking forward to both of those shows. We've got quite a few more in the pipeline, and I'll let you know as soon as they are officially confirmed.

Somebody Wants Soriano?

According to this report, three AL teams are interested in Alfonso Soriano. I imagine the conversations went something like this...

A.L GM: "What would it take to get Soriano from you?"

Theo: "Cough. Cough. Cough. Sorry. I just spit up my coffee. Did you say you wanted Soriano?"

Even if a team is willing to pay only a few million of his $14 million salary, and offers a crappy prospect that has virtually no hope of making the big leagues in return, I say take it.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Living Wills debuts!

Today is the day we get the actual copies of "The Living Wills" in our hands. The first press run will be picked up at the end of the day, and the large number of people that already ordered it (sheesh--thanks so much) will be getting their copies within a few days.

If you haven't ordered it yet, this is the only place to get it.

Chicagoland Radio & Media Gives Some Love to "The Living Wills"

All we can say is wow! Thanks so much to Larz at Chicagoland Radio & Media for this incredibly kind write up about "The Living Wills". (It looks so much nicer on his site here.. He has links to all of the different things he talks about in the text, and pictures of our middle-aged mugs.)

This is what he wrote...

Well-known blogger, author and former Chicago radio producer/personality, Rick Kaempfer has had a busy year. Not only has he started up a new book publishing company, but he authored all or part of a few new books, one of which gets released today.

Rick Kaempfer, along with his long time collaborator and friend David Stern, founded the new boutique book publishing company Eckhartz Press this year. The name comes from combining the first names of both founder's Fathers and features a logo of a laughing letter "E." The company has a handful of new books coming out by a few different authors.

The very first publishing from Eckhartz Press happens today, as the new novel "The Living Wills" is now released. The book was collaboratively written by both Rick Kaempfer and Brendan Sullivan.

Rick Kaempfer is, of course, the former radio producer for Chicago radio legends Steve & Garry (1987-1991) and John Records Landecker (1993-2003), among others, who also hosted and co-hosted his own radio shows on WLUP-FM/AM. After 20 years in radio, Kaempfer walked away to focus on raising his family, writing, co-owning an advertising agency that specialized in creative radio ads, and other pursuits. He was the author of the hilarious 2007 novel "$everance," which gained universal rave reviews for its satire of the current radio & media industry -- a subject he knew well. In 2004, he co-authored a different book on a subject he knew well, along with another well-known Chicago radio producer, John "Swany" Swanson, called "The Radio Producer's Handbook." That book has been called by many as the definitive how-to book on radio production. Kaempfer contributed to the 2008 book "Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year." He is the owner of the humorous Chicago Cubs history website Just One Bad Century. If that wasn't enough, Kaempfer is also a writer and contributing editor for the NW Indiana Times' Shore Magazine, a writer for NW Indiana Times Parent's blog "Father Knows Nothing," interviewer on his Chicago Radio Spotlight website, and a blogger on his own self-named site. Kaempfer won a National Writing Award for an essay written in 1999.

Brendan Sullivan is another veteran of Chicago radio. From 1991-2001, Sullivan was a producer and writer for the Jonathon Brandmeier Radio Showgram. In addition to producing, he would create pre-recorded bits, do on-air character voices, and help create the comedic atmosphere for the program. He has also done his fair share of acting, appearing in national television commercials, feature films, and on the live theater stage. Using his comic timing, Sullivan was a member of the improvisational group Blue Velveeta at Chicago's IO. Since 2002, he has been a successful creativity coach & corporate trainer. More information about Brendan Sullivan's "day job" can be found on his website.

Kaempfer & Sullivan met at WLUP-FM around 20 years ago and struck up a friendship. These two friends recently decided to try a new & innovative way to co-write a book together, using improv skills, brainstorming, mind mapping, and other idea-generating techniques. For "The Living Wills" novel, they came up with a storyline together -- three interweaving storylines, actually -- wrote chapters separately, and then collaborated on the editing, improving and combining of all parts.

The Eckhartz Press website describes the plot of then book this way: "'The Living Wills' is a story about a split-second decision made 30 years ago and the ripple effects it caused. Can the man who made that decision and the people he affected maneuver their way through a world of baristas and Army veterans, bowling teams and exploding port-a-potties, cartoon pirates and young love, to find the strength to heal before it's too late?"

"The Living Wills" is available as of today for only $15.95 and can be purchased online at this link HERE. The authors are hoping to have the e-book version of "The Living Wills" available by the end of December.

I'm not worthy. That is too kind.

David DeJesus?

The first signing of the Theo Epstein era is not exactly a blockbuster. They signed left-handed outfielder David DeJesus.

He had been with the KC Royals for eight seasons before going to Oakland last year. In his nine big league seasons, his highest total of home runs in a year was 13. The most RBI in a season? 73. The most stolen bases? 11. And yes, he was a full-time player.

So, not exactly exciting, but still probably better than what we had there (and how sad is that?). At least he hits for average most years (lifetime .284) and has a good on-base percentage (lifetime .356).

His greatest asset however, may be his wife. She's from Chicago, is a die-hard Cubs fan, had a childhood crush on Ryne Sandberg, and nearly burned out Twitter yesterday with her excited tweets.

You can read them here. It's nice to see that somebody is excited about coming to Chicago.

The Girl Can't Help It

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac this morning...

December 1, 1956…"The Girl Can't Help It," starring Jayne Mansfield, Tom Ewell and Edmond O'Brien, opened in U.S. and Canadian movie theaters. Regarded by many to be one of the best rock 'n' roll films of the 1950s, the comedy features musical performances by Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, the Platters, Fats Domino, Julie London, Ray Anthony, the Treniers, Abbey Lincoln, Freddy Bell & The Bell-Boys, Teddy Randazzo, Eddie Fontaine, and Nino Tempo.

Bob's right, it was an important rock and roll film, but I suspect the young rockers that went to see this movie were more excited by something else...

Herman Cain Train

A parody song by Edwardo and Squire Hogg..

Nice Herman Cain impersonation...and yes, of course, it's incredibly politically incorrect.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Living Wills Comes Out Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the official release date of "The Living Wills". I'm really looking forward to getting my greasy little fingers on the actual books.

Over the past ten days or so, we've been giving you little hints and previews of what you will find in the pages of this exciting new novel by Eckhartz Press authors Brendan Sullivan and Rick Kaempfer.

We've mentioned the unique plot lines, and the great Chicago locations, but we haven't really talked about the characters in the book. Who are these people living in the pages of "The Living Wills."

Well, you'll meet the following people: Baristas, Vietnam Veterans, Corporate Fish Accountants, Hot-shot young Lawyers, Parking Garage Attendants, Port-a-Potty Salesmen, Truckers, Librarians, Campers, Wisconsinites, Bowlers, Drunks, Recovered Drunks, Homeless People, Carpet Executives, Real Estate Agents, Doctors, Babysitters, and Children.

Remember that even though it sounds like an odd mixture, the Chicago Tribune's Rick Kogan points out that it's "Rollicking and real on so many levels..."

He would know.

If you haven't ordered it yet, here's where to go. Be among the lucky people to get a copy of the First Edition.

We'll finally get our hands on it tomorrow. It will be in your hands shortly thereafter.

Why Boys are Like Dogs

My weekly contribution to the City Mom blog at ChicagoNow has been posted, and this week I compare boys to dogs.

Deal with it boy lovers and/or dog lovers. It's an apt comparison.

You can read it here.

The (Suddenly Different) New Cubs Way

I haven't written about this yet, because I've been letting the details sink in, but this new Collective Bargaining Agreement that MLB signed with the Player's Union just before Thanksgiving is only going to hurt a few teams...and one of them is the Cubs.

One of the lesser discussed features of the agreement is the capping of spending on minor league prospects and facilities. In other words, we finally get a group in here that understands how to do it, and suddenly the rules change and they won't be allowed to do it.

That is so Cubs.

So, it looks like they have to change course a bit, and now it looks like they really are interested in signing a big name free agent.

Bruce Levine has his take on that here.

I suspect that the Cubs really aren't interested in Pujols. Remember what Epstein said in his news conference..."You don't pay for past performance, you pay for future performance." Pujols is a great player, but his best years are most likely behind him. Signing him is what the old regime would have done. Then they'd get two or three good (or even great years) before paying him $30 million a year during his decline.

I think the guy they are really targeting is Prince Fielder. He's 27. His peak years are approaching. And he would welcome coming to Chicago.

We'll have to wait and see.

Maybe it's just me, but this new approach is scaring me a little bit. Now the fact that Epstein and company gave huge contracts to the likes of Carl Crawford, John Lackey, and J.D. Drew seems more relevant than it did before. Are they just going to turn into smarter, better dressed versions of Jim Hendry?

I'm suddenly nervous again.

Oh well, at least I had a few solid months there of genuine optimism.

Theo Epstein Rocks?

I didn't know that either.

The Beachwood Reporter has the back story, and several videos of Theo on stage.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Taylor on Radio-Info on "The Living Wills"

Tom Taylor writes the widely read (among media types) Taylor on Radio-Info column at, a column I liberally quote here on this blog. I was thrilled that he had a blurb in his column about "The Living Wills" yesterday...

“Two former radio guys” write a “collaborative novel”, says publisher Eckhartz Press. “The Living Wills" is about “a split-second decision made 30 years ago and the ripple effects it caused. Can the man who made that decision and the people he affected maneuver their way through a world of baristas and Army veterans, bowling teams and exploding port-a-potties, cartoon pirates and young love, to find the strength to heal before it's too late?” Co-author Rick Kaempfer once worked for Steve Dahl, Garry Meier and John Records Landecker, and Brendan Sullivan worked for Jonathon Brandmeier. Rick tells TRI “The two of us met in the hallways of the Loop back in the late 1980s.” Rick’s two previous books were both about the business – “The Radio Producer’s Handbook” and “$everance.”

By the way, Brendan e-mailed me to point out that we actually met in 1991...but at least it was at the Loop, just as I remember. Consider me properly chastised for getting the timing wrong by a year or two. I have since let Mr. Sullivan know that from now if he has any corrections or notes on he can deal with my people.

The Morning Mouth on "The Living Wills"

The Morning Mouth is a very influential radio trade magazine for creative radio shows, and this morning their daily e-newsletter gave some love to yours truly.

THE MOUTH, NOVEMBER 28TH, 2011 –– In the executive restroom at Jockline Daily's world headquarters, you'll find copies of Rick Kaempfer's first novel "$everance" (2007), and “The Radio Producers Handbook” (2004). Before becoming a full-time writer, Rick was a nationally recognized radio producer in Chicago for Steve Dahl & Garry Meier (1987-1991) and John Records Landecker (1993-2003). He currently writes a weekly parenting column (“Father Knows Nothing”), a humor column for Shore Magazine (“A Fine Mess”), a daily blog ("Rick Kaempfer") and is editor-in-chief of the Cubs history website, Just One Bad Century. Now comes word of his latest offering: "The Living Wills," to be shipped on December 1st. Co-written with creativity coach Brendan Sullivan. Rick told Jockline Daily: "My co-author Brendan and I met when we were both working at the Loop in Chicago in the late 80s (he was with Brandmeier and I was with Steve & Garry). Coming from a collaborative medium like radio gave us the perfect experience to collaborate on this novel. Plus, we both have pretty thick skin after working as producers, so we could critique each other honestly without worrying about hurt feelings." The Living Wills will be available in paperback.

Thanks so much to Don Anthony (also known as the guy who produces the yearly Morning Boot Camp seminars around the country).

Trading Matt Garza?

It sounds like the Cubs are considering trading Matt Garza if they get a good package of youngsters in know, like the package they sent Tampa to acquire Garza in the first place.