Saturday, January 07, 2012

Chicago Radio Spotlight: Hart, Meyerson & Dominique

Chicago Radio Spotlight is finally back after a lengthy hiatus. This week I catch up with a former interviewees Charlie Meyerson, Rob Hart, and Lise Dominique. All are now part of the radio experiment known as FM News 101.1.

You can read it here.

Cubs 365

Every day in 2012, the Just One Bad Century blog will feature a story about this day in Cubs history. We're calling it Cubs 365.

On this day in 1922, future Cub Alvin Dark was born. Dark had his best years with the Giants in New York, but as a member of the Cubs he was involved in one of the strangest plays in baseball history. It happened on June 30, 1959.

It all started when a missed strike three got away from Cubs catcher Sammy Taylor. Taylor, thinking it was a foul ball, didn't go after the ball. The bat boy, also thinking it was a foul ball, picked it up and tossed it to field announcer Pat Pieper.

Pieper saw that the batter was running to first base, so he realized it was a live ball, and let it drop at his feet. Third baseman Alvin Dark ran over to grab it. Meanwhile, the umpire gave Sammy Taylor a new ball out of habit.

In the confusion, the runner on first base, Stan Musial, made a run for second base. Cubs pitcher Bob Anderson took the ball out of Sammy Taylor's catcher's mitt and fired it to second base at the same time that third baseman Alvin Dark threw his ball to second base. Ernie Banks was covering second and caught one of the balls heading his way, while the other ball escaped into centerfield.

Ernie tagged out Musial with one ball, while center fielder Bobby Thomson lobbed the other ball into the dugout. Thinking that "real" ball has been tossed into the dugout, Musial kept on running and scored.

The umpires had a very long discussion about this play on the field before finally ruling that Musial was out because Ernie tagged him. The Cardinals were enraged by the call on the field and lodged an official protest.

The protest wasn't necessary.

The Cardinals won the game anyway, 4-1.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Pat Colander Reviews "The Living Wills"

We're very appreciative of Shore Magazine's Associate Publisher and Editor Pat Colander's review of "The Living Wills". She named the book one of her favorite holiday gifts this year.

"If the data that suggests people are reading more now that e-readers and tablets have come along, I am living proof. Read any good books lately? I sure have. Rick Kaempfer and Brendan Sullivan's The Living Wills, a saga of life, death, fractured relationships,lies and families. If you don't think people can keep big secrets for many years, you are about to meet some pretty complex characters. I loved this book despite how sentimental I am. It doesn't end happily for everyone; but it does for some of the characters --- just like in real life."

The Rise of "Rick"

Not me, mind you, the name itself.

I was just thinking this morning that there are two Republican candidates running for President of the United States named Rick. (Rick Perry & Rick Santorum) We've already taken over the internet (Rick Astley), the state of Florida (Rick Scott), the spiritual publishing world (Rick Warren), the ESPN Baseball booth (Rick Suttcliffe), the back page of Sports Illustrated (Rick Reilly), very kinky girls you won't take home to mother (Rick James), and Jesse's Girl (Rick Springfield). Time to take over America.

You can bet this subject will come up at our next "Ricks" meeting. This whole world domination plan of ours is really taking off.

Chicago Radio Spotlight

After a six month hiatus, Chicago Radio Spotlight is returning this weekend. I've got some catching up to do. Turns out, a lot happens in the biz during a six month period.

This weekend I'll be re-interviewing three previous interviewees. All of them are now part of the radio experiment known as News 101.1, a station that didn't even exist when my hiatus began.

Cubs 365

Every day in 2012, the Just One Bad Century blog will feature a story about this day in Cubs history. We're calling it Cubs 365.

On this day in 1900, Clyde "Jersey" Beck was born. Beck was a backup infielder for the Cubs for most of his five year Cubs career (1926-1930). He started nearly 90 games for them in the 1928 season, and then went back to the bench for the pennant winning 1929 season. The highlight of his career was probably May 12, 1930. The Cubs hit four homers in the seventh inning that day and were only the second team in history to do it. Clyde Jersey Beck hit the record-tying HR.

Jersey hit a career-high six HR that season but batted only .213, 90 points below the league average. The Cubs shipped him off to Cincinnati after the season, and that's where he played his final year in the big leagues.

He died in 1988 in his native California.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The 25 Funniest AutoCorrects

Having just edited and re-edited a 300+ page manuscript, I can't tell you how much I hate the "AutoCorrect" feature.

But this totally made my day. I'm still wiping the tears from my eyes from laughing so hard.


The Catalyst Ranch Interviews Rick & Brendan

The following is re-printed from the Catalyst Ranch website. Brendan and I are really looking forward to this event...

Join us here at Catalyst Ranch, Tuesday, January 24th at 6pm when we welcome Brendan and Rick for the next installment of our Match Books series. For the Match Books event, creativity coach Brendan Sullivan wants to show you, not tell you! He has used the same techniques he brings to clients like Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, GE and Harley-Davidson (improv, mind mapping, other ideation processes) to create a just-published novel with a co-author, Rick Kaempfer. Much of the work was done during sessions at the Catalyst Ranch.

Cost is $15 or two children’s books to be donated to Open Books, check out Catalyst Ranch’s Happenings Page for all the info!

Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Location: Catalyst Ranch, 656 W Randolph St, Chicago

Cost: $15/person or 2 new children's books (all proceeds & books will be donated to Open Books). Light refreshments will be served.

If you are bringing books please RSVP to


"The Living Wills" will be available for purchase the night of the event.

About the Authors:

Brendan Sullivan is a creativity coach, helping organizational teams, leaders and individuals to realize their potential to be creative, innovative and collaborative. His clients include Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, Harley-Davidson and many others. He is a renowned keynote speaker on the topic of collaborative creativity. He’d be happy to talk to your company, association, school, writer’s conference, organization, etc. This novel is a living, tangible example of the power of collaborative creativity. Don’t tell them, show them.

Rick Kaempfer has written for magazines, newspapers, radio, television, advertising agencies, websites, and/or blogs, in addition to his two previously published books: the satirical novel "$everance" (2007), and “The Radio Producers Handbook” (2004). Rick also contributed to the book “Cubbie Blues” (2008). 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.

What prompted you to write the book as a collaborative novel?

Rick: Actually, this book was Brendan’s idea. He called me up one day and asked me to lunch. He had read my previous novel and thought that we had similar writing styles. His idea was to write this novel together as a tangible example of collaborative creativity. It’s always better to show people what is possible, rather than just tell them.

Brendan: Yes…and… .I thought the collaborative creation of a novel would be a tangible way to apply the ideation processes I use every day with my corporate clients. We used improv, brainstorming, mind mapping and other ideation techniques to generate characters, plot lines, and the flow of the novel.

What sparks your creativity?

Rick: Just about any and every thing. I’m always looking for creative sparks, and when you do that, you notice that they are all around you. Your wife, your kids, a trip to the store, a drive; you name it.

Brendan: Any opportunity to shake things up is a spark for me. I try to find new ways to do something. If someone tells me ‘that’s not how we do things around here,’ then I want to know why. Like Rick, I also find creative sparks in everyday things, not necessarily the extraordinary. Once you get going, and you’re having fun, it’s hard to stop.

What recently sparked your curiosity and how did you satisfy it?

Rick: The other night I had a dream about how to convert a children’s book I wrote into a young adult’s novel. I got out bed and wrote it all down. If I hadn’t done that, it would have either drifted away into the ether, or kept me awake forever. Now that it’s on paper I can get back to it whenever it’s convenient…instead of during the middle of the night.

Brendan: Lately, I’ve been curious about how the teenage brain works. I’ve been reading a lot about it, and I’ve been observing two of those brains as they operate under my roof. I haven’t come to any satisfying conclusions yet.

What’s one big thing you want people to take away from your book?

Rick: For me, it’s that everything is connected. We’re all connected to each other and every decision we make has an impact on everyone around us. When you think about things that way, it gives your life some purpose and meaning.

Brendan: There’s also the idea of the quiet hero. Our main protagonist did one very gallant thing long ago. It affected everything, yet he doesn’t talk about it, which is both noble and sad. I think there are a lot of quiet heroes out there that don’t get the recognition they deserve.

Share one of your trade secrets for keeping the energy and enthusiasm flowing when working through the creative writing process.

Rick: The trick is to just keep reminding yourself to look for inspiration around you. We all have a tendency to sleepwalk through life. It’s a totally natural and normal thing to do. My wife reads my weekly columns about our family (“Father Knows Nothing” at NWI Parent) and often says “I actually saw that happen and didn’t think it was profound or funny until you mentioned it.” But it was right there all along.

Brendan: Walk away. When I spend too much time focusing closely on a project and I hit a wall, I step away. I find that my subconscious continues to work on the challenge while I’m sleeping, exercising, playing with my kids. And when I go back to the project, the answer is often clear.

What fuels your creativity?

Rick: Super Unleaded. It’s a little more expensive, but so worth it.

Brendan: Guinness. It’s a little more expensive, but so worth it.

Big Z

Bye Bye now.

Good luck, Ozzie.

My condolences to the Marlins Gatorade cooler.

Cubs 365

Every day in 2012, the Just One Bad Century blog will feature a story about this day in Cubs history. We're calling it Cubs 365.

On this day in 1898, future Cub outfielder Riggs Stephenson was born. Stephenson was a former All-American football player, and his nickname Old Hoss fit his build. Old Hoss was a great hitter, one of the best in Cubs history. He still holds the Cubs record for hitters with more than 2000 ABs, with a .336 lifetime average.

In the Cubs' 1929 pennant-winning year, he combined with Hall of Famers Hack Wilson and Kiki Cuyler to form the only outfield in National League history with 100 RBI players at each spot. (Stephenson 110, Wilson 159, Cuyler 102).

He had his problems in the outfield, however. Old Hoss threw like an Old Hoss thanks to an old football injury. He had major arm problems which hampered him, and eventually shortened his career (1926-1934).

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Reviews for "The Living Wills"

I knew that "The Living Wills" was going over pretty well because of the sales figures I get sent to me every day. Not only did we essentially sell out our entire first run of the book in only three weeks, I couldn't help but notice the large number of people that bought it, and then went back on our website to buy additional copies of the book to give out to friends.

I've also been keeping track of the comments on the site GoodReads. Here are a few of the comments posted on the page, all of them giving "The Living Wills" five stars...

"It's a page-turner with enough comedy, mystery, romance, and emotion to appeal to all audiences and at the end left me begging for the next book. To make me completely identify with every character, regardless of age, gender, or belief system is a feat that only talented writers can stage. The Chicago references brought about a familiarity that heightened my love for the story. Bring on the next one!"
--Stacy S.

"Great Read! I liked the way the characters' story lines were intertwined. It was poignant, yet with humor. (I laughed, I cried!) It was also well crafted, and the authors did a good job of not telegraphing where they were going next. I was able to follow the story where it led me, with a few surprises along the way."

"'The Living Wills' is out and we should shout from the Chicago rooftops what a great story(stories) this is! I couldn't put it down. The characters and their stories are so true to life. A great book from 2 very talented authors! Don't miss this one."
--Linda J.

Is it still available? Why yes of course it is.

Where is the best place to get this five star book? Right here.

Cubs 365

Every day in 2012, the Just One Bad Century blog will feature a story about this day in Cubs history. We're calling it Cubs 365.

On this day in 1918, the Cubs acquired a left handed starting pitcher named Lefty Tyler. He was in his 8th major league season when he came to the Cubs from the Boston Braves. (That's Lefty on the far left, along with fellow 1918 rotation members Hippo Vaughn, Phil Douglas and Claude Hendrix)

Lefty had one great season for the Cubs, going 19-8 in 1918, and pitched well in the World Series that year, but developed a strange shoulder injury the next year. He was sent to Minnesota by the Cubs to get examined at the Mayo Clinic. They said there was nothing wrong with his shoulder...his problems were caused by unusually bad teeth. They extracted almost all of his teeth to cure his shoulder injury, which amazingly, didn't do the trick.

Lefty was never the same after that. By the end of 1921, his big league career was over.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Cubs 365

Every day in 2012, the Just One Bad Century blog will feature a story about this day in Cubs history. We're calling it Cubs 365.

On this day in 1919, future Cub Ed Sauer was born. Sauer was a member of the last Cubs pennant winning team (1945). After two years as a seldom used reserve, Sauer was in the 1945 Opening day lineup because of the holdout of Peanuts Lowrey and the injury to Frank Secory, and remained on the roster all season. He even get two at-bats in the World Series. Unfortunately, he struck out both times.

When all of the World War II veterans came back to baseball the following season, Sauer went back to the minors. Ed got his last shot at the big leagues with the Cardinals and Braves in 1949, and by then, his big brother Hank had taken his slot in the Cubs outfield.

Hank Sauer won the MVP as a Cubs outfielder in 1952.

Bye Bye Now

I probably shouldn't be so giddy getting the boys ready to return to school today. They don't seem to share my enthusiasm.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Cubs 365

Every day in 2012, the Just One Bad Century blog will feature a story about this day in Cubs history. We're calling it Cubs 365.

On this day in 1951, future Cub Bill Madlock was born. He is remembered by his nickname "Mad Dog" but to his teammates on the Cubs, he was known simply as "Buns".

His story is here.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Cubs 365

Every day in 2012, the Just One Bad Century blog will feature a story about this day in Cubs history. We're calling it Cubs 365. I won't be posting it here every day, but I will occasionally point out some of my favorite stories. Like this one...

On this day in 1894, future Cub Lawrence "Hack" Miller was born. He was the son of a circus performer named "Sebastian the Strong Man", and he was one of the more interesting figures in Cubs history.

Here's a short excerpt from the Baseball Biography Project...

"Hack Miller entertained teammates by using his bare hand to pound tenpenny nails through two-inch planks of wood and taking the same-size nails and bending them with his fingers. It has been written that he pulled up “fair-sized trees by the roots” during spring training. He once was photographed holding a baseball bat above his head like a barbell, with a teammate hanging from each end. He bragged that one winter he lifted a car to free a woman who had been trapped beneath its wheels. And though he normally swung a 47-ounce bat, on occasion in the minor leagues he wielded a 65-ounce club that was two pounds heavier than those used by modern major leaguers of the 21st century."

Read the full Hack Miller profile here.