Friday, November 30, 2012

Minnie Minoso

He turned 90(!) yesterday. Saw this in Robert Feder's column today...

"Family and friends of Minnie Minoso celebrated the White Sox legend’s 90th birthday Thursday at a screening of a documentary about his life and career...Baseball’s Been Very, Very Good to Me: The Minnie Minoso Story will debut at 10pm December 11 on WTTW-Channel 11. Produced by veteran Chicago documentarian Tom Weinberg, it was completed as a project with backing from more than 160 fans."

Minnie was on the John Landecker show several times during our time at WJMK. We always had him on for the same reason: You can read about that here.

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Isabel Lara ‏@isalara
"In Diane Sawyer’s newsroom, staffers say, the anchor uses xo so frequently its omission can spark panic." @TheAtlantic …

Marcus Leshock ‏@marcusleshock
I dreamed a dream in time gone by. Pretty sure cleaning poop out of my two year-old's jams at 7am wasn't part of it. #Fatherhood

The Associated Press ‏@AP
Comedian Gilda Radner: Gone and forgotten? A Wisconsin cancer support group changes its name: -BW

Talking Points Memo ‏@TPM
Jon Stewart: Fiscal cliff is like an asteroid barreling toward Earth that we created and fired at ourselves

Lizz Winstead ‏@lizzwinstead
Why is it Obama's fault if John Boehner can't control in the flea infestation wing of his caucus?

Publishers Weekly ‏@PublishersWkly
On Vonnegut's letters: "it seemed like Kurt Vonnegut’s biggest obstacle to happiness was Kurt Vonnegut" | The Millions

Richard Lewis ‏@TheRichardLewis
I gave myself a break once and it back-fired.

Ricky Gervais ‏@rickygervais
Isn't Twitter the most fun ever.

The Associated Press ‏@AP
Report: David Wright and the NY Mets agree to $138 million, 8-year deal; richest in franchise history: -BW

Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN
The Dodgers met with Zack Greinke Thursday. Industry expectation is that they will offer him Long Beach and parts of Bakersfield today.

Romney & Obama's Lunch

Nobody was allowed to witness it. No questions were taken about the subject of their conversation. But one important thing was revealed; the lunch menu. Obama served "a lunch spread of white turkey chili and chicken salad."

And some conservatives saw that as a slam on Romney.


Is there a worse job in the world than President of the United States?

The F.C.C.

I know this is a story that the public at large doesn't care about at all, but it appears that not everyone is going to sit on the sidelines while the F.C.C. once again relaxes media ownership rules.

There was a teleconference yesterday by civil rights groups, unions, and public interest groups urging the F.C.C. not to do it. Radio Online has the details.

And then, there was this impassioned plea by Charles P. Pierce at Esquire Magazine, who pointed out that relaxing this rule is a gift to the one person that shouldn't be given the gift of further media ownership: Rupert Murdoch.

He writes: "There is simply no reason for any country anywhere in the world ever to do favors for Rupert Murdoch ever again. His British operation has been exposed engaging in outright criminality. (And anyone who thinks that criminality stopped in the UK is fooling themselves.) His television network in the United States has turned to outright buffoonery and is starting to stagger in the ratings. He is the Bhopal in any media ecosystem in which he is allowed to flourish. There never has been a better time to break what power he has left. Instead, it appears that we are going to streamline ourselves right into enhancing his power in minor markets like Chicago and Los Angeles. It appears to me that this ought to be of some concern to an administration on which Mr. Murdoch has painted a bulls-eye since January of 2009. Vengeance is not always a bad thing."

I don't know if anyone is hearing these voices, but I'm happy that they are out there. I was starting to feel a little lonely on this soapbox.

The Who Review

Went to the Who concert last night with my oldest son Tommy. He really really loved it. ("Better than Pink Floyd, but not quite as good as McCartney" is the way he classified it). When they did "Who are You", he leaned over to me and said: "Whatever money you paid for this was worth it just to hear and see that."

I liked it too, although to be totally honest, it's the sixth or seventh time I've seen them, and they have sounded better in the past. Roger couldn't quite hit some of the notes anymore, particularly that last "LOVE" scream on "Love Reign O'er Me"

But they were not going through the motions at all. The thing that always astounds me when I see them live is that they don't just play the songs--they attack them. It's a violent, desperate act. I think that's one of the reasons that the Who is most certainly a guy's band. As always at a Who concert, men outnumbered the women dramatically in the crowd last night.

My favorite moment of the concert actually happened in the bathroom. I heard a guy say to another guy at the urinals: "Last time I saw 'em, I dropped acid. Now I'm dropping antacid."

I'm totally stealing that line.

Cubs 365, November 30

On this day in 1977, the Cubs signed slugger Dave Kingman. All the elements were in place for a wonderful long term marriage between the Cubs and Dave Kingman. He was a prodigious slugger; his home runs were already the stuff of legend. The Cubs were having trouble drawing fans, and he was the kind of player that brought people to the ballpark. In addition to that, he was a local boy (Prospect High School) returning to play in front of his home town fans. He even lived up to his billing; slugging home runs onto Waveland Avenue with regularity.

Yet, by the time Kingman left Chicago, he might have been one of the most hated players in Cubs history.

How did things go so horribly wrong?

His first year with the Cubs (1978) he hit 28 homers, and some of them were dramatic, but his personality was already rubbing people the wrong way. His 1979 season was one of the best in Cubs history (he hit 48 homers), so his teammates and fans looked the other way as he said and did things that irritated one and all.

It wasn't until 1980 that things really got ugly, and they got ugly in a hurry. In April Kingman caused a stir when he threw a bucket of ice water on a newspaper reporter for the Daily Herald. This unprovoked attack (the reporter was interviewing someone else--Lenny Randle) led to a reprimand from the league office, but not much else.

In June, Kingman didn't show up for a game. He had been given the previous day off to fly to San Diego after his home was burglarized, but he didn't make it back in time for the next day's game. The Cubs fined him for that. When he finally did show up the next day he showed up with a sore shoulder and had to be put on the disabled list. He was out for two months.

During that time on the DL, the Cubs scheduled "Dave Kingman Day" at the ballpark. They gave away 15,000 Dave Kingman t-shirts, and even though he was in town that day, he didn't show up at the ballpark. He did a paid gig promoting Jet Skis instead.

By the end of that season people hated him. Mike Royko, who had been a Cubs fan for forty years, publicly switched his allegiance to the White Sox because he despised Kingman so much. (He called him Ding Dong instead of his previous nickname King Kong).

In the off season the Cubs did what they had to do; they traded Kingman back to the Mets. After news of Kingman's trade became public, his teammates all expressed relief that he was gone. Royko even became a Cubs fan again.

And though Dave Kingman continued to slug homers (he hit another 172 in his career), and retired with the most career homers of any player not in the Hall of Fame, he never even got a sniff from Hall of Fame voters.

It's hard to get votes from baseball writers when you're remembered for throwing ice cold water at one of their colleagues.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Who

Going to see them tonight with my son Tommy (who wasn't named after the rock opera--but might as well have been). The Who will be performing "Quadrophenia" in it's entirety. I can't wait. The BBC recently did a special about that great, great album.

Dick Clark

ABC is airing a 2-hour special about Dick Clark on New Years Eve. It seems only fitting after all his contributions to New Year's Eve in America over the past fifty years.

Clark passed away in April at the age of 82. I met him many times during my broadcasting career and always found him to be a gentleman. He was truly one of the titans in the television business, but he never forgot that he came from the world of radio. He always had a soft spot for radio guys and gals.

I'm glad to see we'll have him with us for one more New Years Eve.

The Levenson Inquiry

Lord Levenson's inquiry into the conduct of the British press has been released today in England, and it is not too kind to Rupert and his paper. The New York Times has the details this morning, but I thought I'd highlight a few of them.

For instance, Lord Levenson said the now defunct News of the World exhibited a “general lack of respect for individual privacy and dignity.” He also said that "reporters regularly obtained illegal information about their subjects, harassed and threatened subjects into cooperating, and concealed their identities in pursuit of stories."

And my favorite observation. The paper was "casual in its approach to truth."

Is there anything worse you can say about a newspaper? I think not. The good news about this whole case is that it looks like it could lead to some new regulation of the press in England. Clearly the press there was a little out of control.

But to be honest, I think Rupert won't be terribly upset by this report. It doesn't conclude that there was widespread corruption between politicians and the paper (although it hints that there was a hidden agenda). It also doesn't conclude that the relationship between the police and the newspapers is a widespread problem.

All in all, it could have been much worse.


Julian Nieh, one half of the morning show at B-96, has left the show. Robert Feder has the details this morning.

It sounds like he's leaving because he wants his own show. He had been at B96 for seven years.

I interviewed Julian for Chicago Radio Spotlight shortly after he came to town. That interview is here, if you're interested.

Cubs 365, November 28

On this day in 1960, the Johnsons had a baby boy. They obviously had a sense of humor, because they named their son Howard, the same name as a famous hotel and restaurant chain.

His nickname naturally ended up being the same thing as the restaurant's nickname (HoJo), but he had the last laugh. Howard Johnson became a big leaguer.

He was a great player in his day (over 200 homers and stolen bases), but by the time he joined the Cubs in 1995, he was 35. It was his last season in the majors, and he only hit .195.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Press for The Balding Handbook

Over the past few days information about "The Balding Handbook" has been on radio stations around the country (mostly thanks to this "obituary" that ran in the Seattle Times)

It's also starting to find it's way into newspapers.

If you've ordered the book, it's in the mail as you read this. You should be getting your copy any day now.

If you haven't ordered the book...get with the program! It's available right here at the Eckhartz Press store, and has been submitted as an e-book to amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Sony.

As soon as they give us the thumbs up, we'll let you know where to get your copy!


How do you officially know you don't have little kids anymore?

When the #1 rated television show for pre-schoolers is a show you've never heard of before.

McStuffins? Sounds like something you might find on the McDonald's Thanksgiving menu.

A New Boss at CNN?

According to the LA Times, it could be former NBC executive Jeff Zucker.

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Marc Alghini ‏@marcafterdark
Odds of me winning Powerball's 1/2 billion > then me earning 1/2 billion.

Lin Brehmer ‏@LinBrehmer
Odds of winning #Powerball? 170 million to 1. Odds of being canonized a saint? 20 million to 1. I'm redirecting my efforts. #StLin

If you join an office lottery pool to win the #Powerball, you may want to consult a lawyer first:

Ray Stevens ‏@RamblinRay995
Jesse Jackson Jr and his family gathering for their favorite holiday movie, "the Bi Polar" Express.

ABC News ‏@ABC
South Korea to Strip Jill Kelley of Honorary Position

Josh Marshall ‏@joshtpm
DC media sounding really surprised upper income tax hikes REALLY popular & Raising Medicare age REALLY unpopular.

New York Times Arts ‏@nytimesarts
Bill Murray, Star of ‘Hyde Park on Hudson’

HuffPost Chicago ‏@HuffPostChicago
.@suntimes columnist @NeilSteinberg gives his reasons why NYC can't ever beat Chicago

Golf's ruling bodies ban belly putters...

NBC News ‏@NBCNews
Lava flows to the ocean in Hawaii, creating rare natural show @NBCNewsPictures


The Powerball drawing is tonight, and the prize is now $500 million. I know the odds are only 1 in 175,223,510, but what the heck.

I bought one ticket.

According o this Detroit Free Press article, you have a slightly better chance of randomly picking the name of one specific female in the United States: 1 in 157 million, according to the latest census.

If you put it that way, it doesn't seem too bad. I guess "Jennifer"

Cubs 365, November 28

On this day in 1927, the Cubs acquired a future Hall of Famer, and it barely made the newspapers.


There was another big story in the news that was captivating the city. It involved one of the most notorious gangsters in Chicago (Machine Gun Jack McGurn) and one of the biggest stars of the stage, singer-comedian Joe E. Lewis (photo).

McGurn was outraged that his club’s (the Green Mill) star attraction had refused to renew his contract. Lewis went to a competitor instead, playing to a full house at the New Rendezvous.

On November 27, three of McGurn’s men stormed into Lewis’ hotel suite, beat him and then cut his throat from ear to ear. The comedian survived the attack, and was even able to recover his singing voice, but McGurn's boss--Al Capone, was very unhappy with his lieutenant's behavior. He advanced Lewis $10,000 so that the performer could get back on his feet.

While newspaper headlines blared the story of the McGurn/Lewis confrontation, the Cubs quietly traded their second baseman Sparky Adams and outfielder Pete Scott for a disgruntled star outfielder on the Pittsburgh Pirates. His name was Kiki Cuyler.

Cuyler went on to lead the Cubs to pennant in 1929, a near miss in 1930, and another pennant in 1932. Even though the Cubs didn't win the World Series in either year, Cuyler wasn't the reason. He hit .300 in the 1929 Series and led the team in RBI. In 1932, he homered in the same game that Babe Ruth supposedly called his shot.

Cuyler also provided something for the Cubs that they wouldn't have for another 45 years: speed. He led the league in stolen bases in 1929 and 1930. Between 1930 when he stole 37 bases and 1975 when Jose Cardenal stole 34, not a single Cubs player stole more than 30 bases in a season.

Machine Gun Jack McGurn's impact would be felt in an entirely different way. After allegedly being the mastermind of the St. Valentines Day massacre, McGurn was gunned down on the anniversary of that crime a few years later.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Obituary: Hedda Haire

Hmmmm. Read the following obituary published today in the Seattle Times and see if you can find something not quite right...

Hedda Haire

Hedda Haire (age 49) originally from Tacoma, died in Kentucky after a long battle with MPB on November 19, 2012. Hedda was born to Really Missami and Lois My (nee Dignity). Haire is preceded in death by his loving grandmother, Jean (nee Defectiv) and estranged brother Nevalostmi. Remnants will be spread at Chaim Bald Memorial Park (

Published in The Seattle Times from November 26 to November 27, 2012

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Bill Gates ‏@BillGates
Everyone knows about #BlackFriday & #CyberMonday. Now help me spread the word about #GivingTuesday:

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
The funniest (and NSFW-est) autocorrects of the month

Fred Winston ‏@FredWinston
Having been force fed The Housewives of. . .series, I have deduced that the idle rich are deeply involved in meaningless horse shit.

Robert Feder ‏@RobertFeder
Rich Koz, Chicago TV's @Svengoolie, back home after double bypass surgery:

daveweigel ‏@daveweigel
If every day of this fiscal cliff story is gonna be Groundhog Day, I'd at least like to learn the piano.

Star Of 'Two And A Half Men' Calls Show 'Filth,' Tells People Not To Watch It...

Zach Zaidman ‏@ZachZaidman
91 years ago today, #Bears/Packers rivalry, the NFL's oldest, began at Cubs Park. The Chicago Staleys beat Green Bay 20-0.

Steve Grzanich ‏@SteveGrzanich
Daybreak over the most beautiful city in the world. Thanks WeatherBug. This is live camera over British School.

Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal
Sources: #Mets make Wright an offer that he is certain to refuse. Details: …

Paul Konrad ‏@PaulKonrad
No SNOW any time soon. Temps could climb into the mid 60s on Monday

The New Titan of Talk

According to People Magazine, it's Steve Harvey. Tom Taylor reported this morning in his column...

Steve Harvey is People Magazine’s “New Titan of talk.” That’s based on his radio work, his successful daily syndicated TV talk show and the “Family Feud” game show, and a whole lot of hard work. Radio syndicator Premiere notes that Harvey’s been in People two weeks in a row – first in the “Sexiest Man Alive” issue, now as a titan of talk. It’s quite a personal story, with longtime standup comedian Harvey revealing that at one time, he was living in his car.

Coyotes near Wrigley

Click on this link, and you can see the pictures. There are clearly two coyotes hanging out right by the Wrigley Field gates.

I wonder what kind of omen that is.

Father Knows Nothing

This week's Father Knows Nothing is about taking my 17-year-old (pictured here 16 years ago) to the Australian Pink Floyd concert.

You can read it here.

Cubs 365, November 27

On this day in 1920, future Cub Johnny Schmitz was born. He was nicknamed Bear Tracks because of his lumbering shuffle to the mound. Schmitz was only twenty when he was called up to the majors, and pitched two seasons for the Cubs, but was drafted to serve in World War 2 in 1942.

Bear Tracks was one of the rare players who returned from the war an even better player. He led the National League in strikeouts in 1946, and was named to the All-Star team. He had another great year two years later, finishing with a 2.64 ERA and an 18-13 record for a last place team. During his Cubs years he was known as a fierce competitor. How many pitchers have been ejected from a game for wearing illegal spikes? Only Bear Tracks Schmitz, who did it to further intimidate the batters.

A noted Dodger-killer during his career (he beat them 18 times), he was later traded to the Dodgers in the deal that also put Andy Pafko in a Brooklyn uniform. By then he was no longer an all-star caliber pitcher. He pitched for the Dodgers, the Senators, the Red Sox and the Orioles before retiring after the 1956 season.

Bear Tracks passed away in Wisconsin in October of 2011.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The difference between men and women

A psychological study. Sent to me by "DM". Pretty funny.

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Rick Kaempfer ‏@RickKaempfer
Some great stocking stuffer ideas from Eckhartz Press on this Cyber Monday ( …) #books

Reid Wilson ‏@HotlineReid
The 364 items listed in '12 Days of Christmas' would now cost $107k, up 6.1% over last year, per PNC's annual study #HotlineSort

Andy Daglas ‏@AndyDaglas
REPORTS: Most holiday shoppers able to locate no more than 4 lords a-leaping this year due to skills gap.

Did you watch Lifetime's #LizAndDick, starring Lindsay Lohan? Did you dislike it as much as @BiancoRobert did? Review:

Greg Sargent ‏@ThePlumLineGS
CNN poll: 56% support high taxes on rich to preserve gov't programs for poor. In Morning Roundup:

Tampa Bay Rays ‏@RaysBaseball
Longoria’s new contract incorporates the salaries for 2013-16 and extends 6 more years through 2022 for an additional $100 million.

Robert Feder ‏@RobertFeder
A @jamesvanosdol triumph: "We Appreciate Your Enthusiasm: The Oral History of Q101" exceeds all expectations:

Mark Wilhelms ‏@Markwilhelms
Don’t Fall For Fake Facebook Privacy Notice

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
After sex, she eats his face (VIDEO)

Adam Oestmann ‏@adamspeaks
Putting on my Griswold jersey and heading outside to put up the Christmas lights. Wish me luck. #shittersfull

Gangnam Style

That crazy Korean music video is now the most-viewed video in YouTube history.

Too Cool


Cyber Monday

According to USA Today, this is going to be the biggest Cyber Monday in history. For those of you cyber-ing today, don't forget the wonderful offerings at Eckhartz Press. All of them are perfect stocking stuffers...

"The Balding Handbook"
By David Stern

"Finally a book for America's most overlooked minority! We are balding, hear us roar, in numbers too big to ignore."
---Radio legend John Records Landecker

"The Living Wills"
By Brendan Sullivan & Rick Kaempfer

Rollicking and real on so many levels, "The Living Wills" is a captivating collaboration by two immensely talented writers.
---Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune

By Randy Richardson

Every once in a while, a sleeper of a novel comes around that you really HAVE to read. For me, it's CHEESELAND... It's elegant, well-written, and the characters are wonderfully wrought. I highly recommend it.
---Libby Fischer Hellmann, author of A Bitter Veil, Set the Night on Fire, and the Ellie Foreman and Georgia Davis Mystery Series

"Down at the Golden Coin"
By Kim Strickland

“Down at the Golden Coin” couldn’t be more timely or original, with the most eccentric spiritual guide since Clarence the Angel. Prepare to set your brain to “spin cycle.”
–--Paige Wiser
"Windy City Live", ABC-7 Chicago

Trump's Kids Hold An Intervention

According to this article, Donald Trump's children recently stepped in and begged their father to stop embarrassing himself with his anti-Obama rhetoric.

I have a list of about a hundred more they can visit, but this is a good start.


I've had a few communications with Bean from the Kevin & Bean show in Los Angeles over the years (he is a HUGE Landecker fan), and I've always found him to be incredibly nice. However, I had no idea he was THIS nice. He recently donated a kidney to one of the engineers at his station. From Tom Taylor's column this morning...

Gene “Bean” Baxter should be back on the morning show at L.A.’s KROQ today, following surgery where he donated a kidney to CBS engineer Scott Mason. The Orange County Register says the transplant-donor surgery went well and that Baxter says his friend “looks ten years younger, [and is] smiling, laughing, happy.” Baxter may be a pound or two lighter (minus one of his two kidneys), but some things don’t change. Bean aims to “be back in time for the Miss Double D-cember pageant.”

Cubs 365

If you haven't followed the Cubs 365 feature at the Just One Bad Century blog the past week, you've missed a few of my favorite Cubs stories of all-time, including...

The day the Cubs passed on Joe DiMaggio

The Cubs general manager who was promoted from the concession stand

and The Marx Brothers at Wrigley Field.

Today's story is about former Cubs pitcher Clay Bryant.