Friday, May 25, 2012

Coming this Weekend

I'm taking the weekend off from writing (no radio spotlight or father knows nothing), but my old pals the Just One Bad Century blog and website will carry on as always with two new Cubs 365 stories, and a trip back to 1945 and 1908.

I'll be watching my son Sean play four soccer the hundred degree heat.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and stay cool. (I mean that in the traditional temperature sense, daddy-o)

Trade Bait

According to Gordon Wittenmyer, these are the Cubs most likely to be traded. Dempster, Marmol, and Soto lead the list.

On this team, as far as I'm concerned, the only untouchables are Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo.

Oh, and of course, Koyie Hill.

Cubs 365, May 25

On this day in 1982, in his second stint with the Cubs, Fergie Jenkins secured his place in baseball's Hall of Fame by recording his 3000th career strikeout. It happened in the third inning against San Diego Padres shortstop Gary Templeton.

Jenkins ended his career with 3192 strikeouts.

The lead off man for the Cubs on the day of Fergie's 3000th, by the way, was a rookie third baseman (that's right third baseman) named Ryne Sandberg.

Oh, and of course, the Cubs lost the game 2-1.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Onion on "Bipartisanship"

Pretty funny stuff...

Countdown to Cheeseland

Randy Richardson's "Cheeseland" comes out next Tuesday (via Eckhartz Press), and is available for pre-order now.

It came off the presses the other day, and it looks just great. We're super excited about it.

If you'd like a taste of what's inside, Randy has posted an excerpt of the novel on his website. You can read it here.


Cubs 365, May 24

On this day in 1923, Colonel Robert McCormick broke ground on the Tribune Tower. Sixty years later the Cubs would be run by the men in that tower, but in 1923, they were still run by William Wrigley. Wrigley had commissioned the building of his own magnificent structure across the street from McCormick's Michigan Avenue location just a few years earlier.

In 1923 it was the crown jewel of Chicago's skyline.

The Tribune Tower (photo) opened to rave reviews in 1925. The statue of Nathan Hale still greets people, as do the carved images of Robin Hood (representing the architect Hood) and a howling dog (representing the architect Howells) above the entrance. Also, parts of important historical sites (brought back to Chicago by Tribune correspondents) still grace the base of the structure, including stones from such sites as the Taj Mahal, the Parthenon, and the Palace of Westminster, petrified wood from the Redwood National and State Parks, and pieces from the Great Pyramid, The Alamo, Notre-Dame, Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb, the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, and most recently, the World Trade Center in New York.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cubs 365, May 23

On this day in 1925, the first Latin-American player in Cubs history joined the team. His name was Mike Gonzalez, and he was born in Havana, Cuba. (His real name was Miguel Angel Gonzalez)

Before joining the Cubs, he had played for the Boston Braves, the New York Giants, the Cincinnati Reds, and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Gonzalez played for the Cubs from 1925-1929, serving as Gabby Hartnett's backup. He even got an at bat in the 1929 World Series. But there was no joy in Cuba, for the mighty Miguel struck out.

Countdown to Cheeseland

"Cheeseland" by Randy Richardson comes out next Tuesday (although it's available for pre-order now, by clicking here). You can bet that Randy will be hustling to promote his book in the coming weeks.

If you're a radio fan, and would like to hear Randy discussing the book, you don't have to be in the town of the radio stations to hear him. Simply click on the station call letters to listen to the interviews streaming live on the station websites...

*May 31, 2012
Thursday, 10:40 am CDT
Midday Show (Jay Caldwell) WJON
(St. Cloud, Minnesota)

*June 14, 2012
Thursday, 7.05 AM EDT/6.05 AM CDT
The Frank Truatt Morning Show, WTBQ-AM
(Suburban New York)

*June 15, 2012
Friday, 9.30 AM MDT/10.30 AM CDT
Tron in the Morning KCMN
(Colorado Springs)

*June 18, 2012
Monday, 9.20 AM EDT/8.20 AM CDT
Morning Show (Bob Langstaff) WAMV 1420 AM
(Amherst, Virginia)

*June 20, 2012
Wednesday, 9.10 AM CDT
Breakfast Club WCUB AM
(In Cheeseland!)

*June 21, 2012
Thursday, 10:30 am CDT
KORN 1490 AM Let’s Talk (Clay Mick)
(South Dakota)

*June 28, 2012
Thursday, 9 AM PDT/11AM CDT
The Two O'Clock Show (Ken Johannessen)KPQ Radio

*July 12, 2012
Thursday, 8.30 AM CDT
Talkline (Bob Krejcarek) WLDY AM
(In Cheeseland!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Johnny Carson

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac, this significant event--twenty years ago today.

May 22, 1992…After an almost 30-year tenure, Johnny Carson made his final appearance as host of "The Tonight Show" on NBC-TV.

After that, he just went away. Although he did make one final appearance on David Letterman's show.

Joke for a Tuesday Morning

Contributed by "DS"...

Tony and Yvonne were 85 years old and had been married for sixty years. Though they were far from rich, they managed to get by because Tony watched their pennies.

Though not young, they were both in very good health, largely due to Yvonne's insistence on healthy foods and exercise for the last decade.

One day, their good health didn't help when they went on yet another holiday and their plane crashed, sending them off to Heaven.

They reached the pearly gates, and St. Peter escorted them inside. He took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, with a fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath. A maid could be seen hanging their favorite clothes in the closet. They gasped in astonishment when he said, 'Welcome to Heaven. This will be your home now.'

Tony asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. 'Why, nothing,' Peter replied, 'remember, this is your reward in Heaven.'

Tony looked out the window and right there he saw a championship golf course, finer and more beautiful than any ever built on Earth..

'What are the greens fees?,' grumbled Tony..

'This is heaven,' St. Peter replied. 'You can play for free, every day.'

Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with every imaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to exotic deserts, free flowing beverages.

'Don't even ask,' said St. Peter to Tony. This is Heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy.'

Tony looked around and glanced nervously at Yvonne.

'Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods and the decaffeinated tea?,' he asked.

That's the best part,' St. Peter replied. 'You can eat and drink as much as you like of whatever you like and you will never get fat or sick.
This is Heaven!'

'No gym to work out at?' said Tony

'Not unless you want to,' was the answer.

'No testing my sugar or blood pressure or...'

'Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself.'

Tony glared at Yvonne and said, 'You and your f*****g Bran Flakes. We could have been here ten years ago!'

Countdown to Cheeseland

Randy Richardson's "Cheeseland" is being released by Eckhartz Press exactly one week from today. (It's available for pre-order now)

We've previously mentioned that the first half of the book takes place thirty years ago in the south suburbs of Chicago, and across the border in "Cheeseland", but we haven't mentioned that the book was inspired by an actual event that happened in 1979.

Randy wrote about the story behind the story on his Cheeseland website.

Cubs 365, May 22

On this day in 2002, Cubs phenom Mark Prior made his Major League debut.

The incredibly hyped Prior didn't disappoint. He struck out ten Pittsburgh Pirates (including future Cub Aramis Ramirez three times), walked two, and allowed two runs in six solid innings of work. Sammy Sosa homered, Fred McGriff drove in a pair, and the Cubs beat the Pirates 7-4.

Prior went 5-6 the rest of the year, but put it all together the following season, leading the Cubs to the National League Championship Series.

Unfortunately, we could find no record of what happened in that series, or what happened to Prior in the years following that series. One can only presume that he led the team to many consecutive World Series titles.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The VVA Reviews "The Living Wills"

In the May/June issue of the Vietnam Veterans of America magazine ("Veteran"), esteemed Vietnam writer and veteran Marc Leepson reviewed "The Living Wills". Brendan and I are thrilled to get the seal of approval from this great organization. The headline of the review was: "Good-Hearted Veteran Cast Populates "The Living Wills". The review is not available on-line yet (when it is, I'll post a link), but in the meantime, here is an excerpt...

Two author novels are rare. The main reason: Writing fiction is such an intimate, personal business that it's extremely difficult for two people to come up with one literary vision, not to mention implement it. So you have to give credit to Rick Kaempfer and Brendan Sullivan, the two authors of "The Living Wills" (Eckhartz Press, 336 pp, $15.95 paper), a fast-reading novel set in Chicago in 2005, for coming up with a creditable work of fiction. Kaempfer is a Chicago writer and Sullivan is an improv artist in the City of Big Shoulders.

How did the two men put the book together? "We improvised the story lines together using (Sullivan's) techniques," Kaempfer explained, "before sitting down to plot it out and write the chapters of the book--it was a completely collaborative process." The authors "didn't set out to write a Vietnam book," Kaempfer said, "but when we improvised, it simply emerged."

How did the collaboration turn out? Not badly. The dialogue-heavy story hums along rapidly. It's a multi-character affair, centering on veteran Henry Stankiewicz and his late-in-life effort to make amends with his upwardly mobile lawyer son. It's not an easy task, as young Peter is extremely bitter about having suffered from an absent father for most of his childhood while the elder Stankiewicz struggled with postwar emotional and physical issues.

Several interwoven subplots include one involving a depressed middle-aged corporate type and another centering on a group of Henry's bowling buddies. There's also Peter's struggles with his work situation in a big law firm and his relationship with his girlfriend, who happens to be a lawyer at the firm. The main plot deals with something that happened to Henry in Vietnam, and the continuing fallout from that traumatic event in his life and in the lives of a group of his war buddies.

Henry and the other Vietnam veteran characters in the book are good-hearted men who have (to one degree or another) overcome their war-related emotional and physical problems. Henry holds down a blue-collar job, is happily married to a good woman, and has a positive mental outlook. One of his buddies still struggles with alcohol; another is a well-adjusted family man. In other words, 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...

The Living Wills is a more-than decent novel filled with sympathetically drawn Vietnam veteran characters. That in itself is worth the price of admission.

Cubs 365, May 21

On this day in 1935, the immortal Babe Ruth played his last game at Wrigley Field.

Ruth was a shell of his former self, struggling to stay afloat with the Boston Braves. And he made three outs his first three times to the plate, but in his last at bat ever in Wrigley Field, Babe Ruth stepped up to the plate against Cubs reliever Tex Carleton.

Tex grooved one, and Babe showed he still knew what to do with it, knocking the ball into the bleachers for a home run.

Babe was removed from the game after that homer, and tipped his cap to the Wrigley fans one last time. He retired from baseball just nine days later.

By the way, the Babe's in the news today too. His 1920 jersey just sold for $4.42 million, a record for an item of sports memorabilia.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Father Knows Nothing

My latest Father Knows Nothing column is entitled "The Reason My Home Looks Like a Crime Scene"

You can read it here.

Cubs 365, May 20

On this day in 1946, Cubs pitcher Claude Passeau did something he almost never did. He made an error. It was his first error since September 21, 1941. In that 4 1/2 years of errorless ball, Passeau fielded 273 consecutive errorless chances.

That's still the all-time record for a big league pitcher.

They didn't hand out Gold Glove awards yet in those days, but if they did, Claude Passeau would have won five of them. He also won no fewer than 14 games in each of those seasons.