Friday, September 07, 2012

Woman Accused of Teaching Cockatoo to Swear at Ex-Husbands Girlfriend

Love this story in USA Today...

"In court documents, the newspaper says, Kathleen Melker, of Warwick, R.I., claims she was within earshot of Willy, the neighbor's cockatoo, when the pet repeatedly called her "whore."

I don't know why this makes me laugh, but it does.

The Boss at Wrigley Field

It's pouring rain outside right now, but I'm still looking forward to seeing Bruce Springsteen at Wrigley Field tonight...

Cubs 365, September 7

On this day in 1962, Cubs rookie second baseman Ken Hubbs set a National League record for most plays handled without an error.

This is what it sounded like.

The record was broken in 1965 by Jerry Adair of the Dodgers.

By then, Hubbs was dead. He tragically perished in a plane crash in February of 1964.

Ratings Shocker

The Democratic Convention got higher ratings than the opening night of the NFL season.

Has that ever happened before? Two big NFL draws too...the Giants and the Cowboys.

Bubba's still got it. (The ratings were from Wednesday night, not Thursday)

Survey Says...

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Cubs 365, September 6

On this day in 1948, Cubs second baseman Emil Verban did something he never did before, and never did again.

They called him the antelope because of his speed, but by the time Verban played for the Cubs, he wasn't exactly tearing up the basepaths. In his three seasons with the Cubs he stole a total of seven bases.

To say that Verban wasn't exactly known for his power would be an understatement. The Antelope had 2911 career at-bats, and hit exactly one home run. He hit it against Johnny Vander Meer (the man who once threw consecutive no-hitters) on this day, September 6th, 1948.

Verban's name lives on thanks to the Emil Verban Society, formed in 1975 by a group of Washington based Cubs fans. Among the original six members: Chief of Staff for President Gerald Ford, Dick Cheney. Later members included President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Hillary Clinton.

The Antelope passed away during the Cubs playoff season of 1989. He was 72.

Clinton's Ad-libs

Bill Clinton's speech last night was amazing for several reasons. One of those reasons was that it was obvious he was just riffing up there, and unlike Clint Eastwood last week, Bill really knows what he's doing.

According to Vanity Fair, all ten of these comments were completely ad-libbed on stage...

10. “Are you listening Ohio and Michigan?”
9. “This Republican narrative, this alternate universe. . .”
8. “It passes the arithmetic test and more important, it passes the values test.”
7. “We gotta deal with this before it deals with us.”
6. “Democracy does not have to be a blood sport.”
5. “The old economy is not coming back.”
4. “Now you’re having a good time but this is getting serious and I want you to listen.”
3. “This is personal to me.”
2. George Washington was accused of being a “surveyor with a bad set of wooden false teeth.”
1. “You got to admit, it takes some brass to attack a guy for what you did.”

Just from a performance point of view...that's pretty amazing. I don't think either President Obama or Mitt Romney could do it.

Beaver Attack

Strange story in the Washington Post this morning about a rabid beaver going after an old lady in a lake.

It sounds like something out of a horror movie. This was the energizer bunny of rabid beavers.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

E-mails, we get e-mails

This just e-mail box. It was written by "KR", and he makes a good point...

"I like your comparison of Rupert to Snidely Whiplash, but I've been thinking about it and that may not be the most perfect analogy. I'd go with this guy."

Point taken. That probably is a better choice.

A Website & Magazine for Billionaires

I kid you not, South African multi-millionaire David Leppan (not a billionaire himself...yet) ,has launched a website and a magazine for billionaires. According to Leppan, there are about 2000 of those worldwide.

Think they'll be able to sell any ads for that target audience?

Message in a Bottle

A bottle was found floating in the ocean this week...and it contained a message that was written in 1914. 98 years ago.

Or to put it in proper perspective, it was written only six years after the Cubs last won the World Series.

It was an SOS to the world...

Cubs 365, September 5

On this day in 1918, the Cubs faced the Boston Red Sox for Game 1 of the World Series; a series started a month earlier than normal because of World War I.

The Cubs felt that their new ballpark (now known as Wrigley) was too small, so they asked and received permission to play their home games at the White Sox ballpark Comiskey Park. Unfortunately for team owner Charlie Weeghman, people were apathetic about baseball in the war-obsessed nation, and a growing flu pandemic made still others reluctant to go out in public, so this series was one of the worst attended in baseball history. Only 19,274 fans were on hand.

Nevertheless, Game 1 was one of the greatest pitcher's duels in World Series history. It featured Cubs ace Hippo Vaughn (photo) going against Red Sox ace Babe Ruth.

Ruth was masterful, scattering only six harmless singles through nine innings of shutout ball. Hippo Vaughn allowed only five singles himself, but two of them came in the fourth inning. George Whiteman knocked in Dave Shean for the only run of the game.

The Red Sox took Game 1, 1-0.

A Business That Loves the Citizens United Ruling

My old business, radio. Why? Maybe this little tidbit from Inside Radio today will explain it...

"Radio’s political ad forecast pumped up. Political ad spending remains hit-or-miss depending, on the market. But where it’s raining it’s apparently pouring dollars. Based on what’s been spent so far, Wells Fargo Securities is raising its political ad forecast for radio by 4%. The firm now expects radio to sell $270 million in election ads this year, up from an earlier forecast of $256 million."

When the candidates spend, they spend it on media. Think about that next time someone complains about the biased media. In my experience the only bias I've ever seen in the media is bias in favor of advertisers. That is, bias toward the people who directly pay their bills for them. When political parties and politically connected groups become the biggest advertisers...

Steve Edwards Resigns

This was rather surprising news, via Robert Feder this morning. Steve Edwards, host of the afternoon show on NPR/WBEZ, resigned yesterday.

Steve has been with WBEZ since the late 90s, although he did take a sabbatical once before (for a special fellowship at the University of Michigan). This sounds like more than a sabbatical. This time he's going to work for David Axelrod.

I've met Steve a number of times over the years. We did a symposium together at the Publicity Club of Chicago. I interviewed him for Chicago Radio Spotlight a few years later. Then, when $everance came out, he had me on his show.

Super nice guy. I wish him the best.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

50 years ago today

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

September 4, 1962…At EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London, the Beatles recorded six songs including "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You," which became the two sides of their first single. Producer George Martin originally wanted to release their version of the Mitch Murray composition, "How Do You Do It?" but it was recorded by and became a hit for Gerry and the Pacemakers instead. The Beatles rendition remained unreleased until 1995 when it appeared on "Anthology 1."

Moon Dies

He was the leader of a religious movement (the Moonies), but he was also the owner of the conservative Washington Times.

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon passed away over the weekend at the age of 92.

Definitely Not Clint

For Those About to Rock, We Arrest You

A woman in New Hampshire was arrested four times in 26 hours for playing her music too loud. She's not a kid, either. She's 53.

Her music of choice? AC/DC.

In her defense, when you listen to AC/DC, it's not like you can play it quietly.

Cubs 365, September 4

On this day in 1935, the Cubs began the longest winning streak in baseball history.

The Cubs were in third place in the National League 2 1/2 games behind the first place Cardinals, and a half game behind the second place New York Giants. They had been flirting with first place for most of the season, but nobody on that Cubs roster could have predicted what began on that September day.

The Cubs beat the Phillies at Wrigley Field 8-2 behind the pitching of Larry French (photo) and two homers by Augie Galan, and they wouldn't lose again until September 28th. It remains the most incredible winning streak in baseball history.

They beat all comers in every way imaginable. They swept the Phillies, the Braves, the Dodgers, and the Pirates at home, and then won another three at St. Louis. They won slugfests and they won pitchers duels.

Seven different Cubs pitchers won games, but Larry French won five, and Charlie Root and Lon Warneke each won four. The lineup was impressive, featuring four Hall of Famers (Gabby Hartnett, Billy Herman, Chuck Klein, and Freddie Lindstrom) and two of the all-time great Cubs (Phil Cavarretta and Stan Hack).

But the hottest hitter of all was their lead-off man Augie Galan (photo). He hit 5 of his 12 home runs that season during the streak, and batted an astounding .358 to finish the season at .314. There were only two games he didn't reach base.

The city of Chicago got more and more excited as the streak wore on. In that first win, only 5000 were in attendance. By the time the Cubs won their 18th in a row at Wrigley, 40,000+ packed the joint; despite the fact that the country was in the darkest days of the Great Depression.

There really weren't too many close calls, but two of the games did go into extra innings. The Cubs pushed across a run in the bottom of the 11th to win the first one (Charlie Root pitched all 11 innings), and in the bottom of the 10th in the next one (Lon Warneke pitched all 10 innings).

Probably the best game of the streak was the 19th win in a row. Lon Warneke and Cardinals pitcher Paul Dean both entered the game as 19-game winners, and both men pitched their hearts out. Dean threw a seven hitter, but Warneke allowed only two hits. But the streak wasn't the only thing at stake during this game. The Cubs were only three games ahead of the Cardinals with five games to play in the season, and all five games would be head-to-head in St. Louis.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the difference in the game was one single mistake pitch by Dean, which was smacked over the fence by Cubs first baseman Phil Cavarretta. That gave the Cubs a nearly insurmountable 4 game lead with 4 games left in the season.

The 20th win in a row the next day clinched the pennant, and the 21st win in a row came the same day in the second game of the double header. Whether or not the Cubs celebrated that night a little too ferociously is lost to time, but they did drop the meaningless final two games of the season.

WGN Gives Studio to Museum

The old WGN studio that once was home to Wally Phillips, Bob Collins and Spike O'Dell has been dismantled, and will be given to the Museum of Broadcasting. (Robert Feder has the details).

I know that they have a brand new studio now, and that the showcase studio on Michigan Avenue will still be used, but I've been a guest on WGN about a dozen times over the last eight years, and I even worked there briefly as a producer during that time, and that old studio was my favorite one.

In my twenty plus years in radio that was the biggest and most impressive studio I have ever seen. There must have been fifteen working microphones that were hooked up and ready to go for each broadcast. It was impossible to sit in that studio and not think you were participating in something important.

To me, even the showcase studio wasn't as impressive. It was shiny and all, but it wasn't historic and dramatic. My last time on WGN was in January (on Rick Kogan's show), and that was the last time I was in the old studio.

I guess the next time I see it, I'll have to pay for the privilege.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Father Knows Nothing

This week's Father Knows Nothing column is called "Losing the Husband Vote" and it's about a story Mitt Romney told in his acceptance speech.

You can read it here.