Friday, January 11, 2013


In the UK, McDonald's Happy Meals will no longer include toys. They will now include...books!

I don't know how much the kids will like that idea, but as a parent, I'm totally on board. (Not to mention as a publisher)

Today's Best Tweets

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

Jimmy Johnson ‏@JimmyJohnson
Looks like 2 of my guys getting NFL jobs..Chud Cleveland and my QB coach at U Trestman to Chicago

Kevin Seifert ‏@espn_nfcnblog
Other than Jimmy Johnson tweet, no indication #Bears are close to naming a head coach. Still have first interviews scheduled this weekend.

Greg Sargent ‏@ThePlumLineGS
Karl Rove accidentally reveals that GOP's debt ceiling threat is a con game: …

davidfrum ‏@davidfrum
I don't agree that video games cause gun violence, but they sure aren't doing any good for my son's college GPA.

Roger Ebert ‏@ebertchicago
"I'm shutting your butt down," Tarantino tells London TV interviewer who questions violence in "Django."

Lou Brutus ‏@LouBrutus
Meanwhile in China, a hipster has a random English word tattooed on his arm. #TGIF

Rich Samuels ‏@rsamuels
Gas issues in the workplace: Social Security Administration takes back reprimand of flatulent worker

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
Beyonce, Katy Perry, Stevie wonder and many more to perform at inauguration

Ezra Klein ‏@ezraklein
Fun @brianbeutler piece on the origins of the platinum coin: … Takeaway: Blog commenters can change the world!

Elizabeth Rago ‏@bethrago
“When you are tempted to give up, your breakthrough is probably just around the corner.” ― Joyce Meyer

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Nominations Are In

I don't know why I find this so interesting every year because I almost never go to the movies anymore, but I really do care about who gets nominated for Academy Awards.

The full list for this year is here.

UPDATE: This is a better list.

Mancow & Stern

A few more pictures from David Stern's recent appearance on the Mancow radio/television show in Chicago...

Randy Richardson

There's a great interview with Randy Richardson in the current Hypertext Magazine. He talks all about his excellent novel "Cheeseland", his experience working with this awesome local publisher named Eckhartz Press, and much more.

You can read it here.

The Piers Morgan Petition

I don't know if you've been following this story about CNN's Piers Morgan and gun enthusiasts who filed an official White House petition to have him deported for not supporting the Second Amendment.

You probably saw that famous blow up on the air between Morgan and the author of the petition the other day. I'm not posting it here because it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I'm not even writing Crazy McTemplethrob's real name because he's not worthy of it. (And I don't even like Piers Morgan...I can't imagine being on his side of any other argument)

Well, because the petition did reach the 100,000 signatures level, the White House has been forced to officially comment. They did that yesterday. Here it is...
"Let’s not let arguments over the Constitution’s Second Amendment violate the spirit of its First. President Obama believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. However, the Constitution not only guarantees an individual right to bear arms, but also enshrines the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press — fundamental principles that are essential to our democracy. Americans may disagree on matters of public policy and express those disagreements vigorously, but no one should be punished by the government simply because he or she expressed a view on the Second Amendment — or any other matter of public concern."
Sounds about right to me.

Sammy Sosa

The baseball writers have spoken. Sammy Sosa only got 12.5% of the Hall of Fame vote. I think Jesse Rogers has it about right in his ESPN post analyzing the vote.

Sammy may make it in someday (probably not), but if he does, he certainly shouldn't make it in before Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens--two guys who probably would have made the Hall without the roids.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Balding Handbook on the radio/TV

The Balding Handbook's David Stern was on Mancow's show this morning.

Charlie Watts

50 years ago today Charlie Watts left his band Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated to join a new band called The Rolling Stones...

Super Bowl Overkill

If you thought the ridiculous five hour pre-game shows of the past were a bit much, buckle up. This year's pre-game will last...are you ready for this?

Six days.

Brett Jackson

How bad was Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson last season? Real, real bad.

His strikeout rate (49.17%) was the second worst in baseball history.

Baseball has been around for 143 years.

More Popular Than Congress

According to the latest PPP Poll (Best Poll Ever), the following are all currently more popular than Congress.

Root Canals
Traffic jams
Used Car Salesmen

Jimmy Kimmel

Six Reasons Why Jimmy Kimmel Might Actually Become The King of Late Night

It's not as crazy as it sounds.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Chuck Todd ‏@chucktodd
Meanwhile, here's hoping a guy like Biggio doesn't get overshadowed today; a legit non-PED 1st ballot-er. As for Jack Morris, on fence

Scott Smith ‏@ourmaninchicago
Doctor on @WGNMorningNews says current H3N2 flu strain is so strong even some people who get vaccine may get a mild case.

Paul McCartney ‏@PaulMcCartney
Paul has posted a personal message on remembering his friend Sir Richard Rodney Bennett who recently passed away...

Joel Achenbach ‏@JoelAchenbach
Love honest Adam LaRoche on his deal with the Nats: "We all make more than we should anyway. It's a ton of money." …

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
"Jeffersons" star -- Ralph the Doorman -- dies at age 89

Big John & Amy ‏@BigJohnandAmy
Congress is less popular than NFL replacement refs & Genghis Khan but more popular than Gonorrhea and The Kardashians

Roger Simon ‏@politicoroger
Canada working on its own platinum coin, but it won't work in U.S. vending machines.

Robert Feder ‏@RobertFeder
Hurry! Just a few more weeks to stand in front of the Studio 5 window and wave to mom:

Matt Lindner ‏@mattlindner
@phil_rosenthal I always found that ironic, that it was difficult to get a cell phone signal at a ballpark named for a cell phone company

Keith Olbermann ‏@KeithOlbermann
ICYMI - latest Baseball Nerd post: Nobody Elected To Hall Of Fame Today? We All Deserve That.

Nixon's 100th birthday

100 years ago today, Richard Milhouse Nixon was born...

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Canadian Joke

I don't know why this one made me laugh out loud when I read it this morning (in Vanity Fair), but it did.

Q: How do you get 35 Canadians out of a pool?

A: Say: "Everybody out of the pool"

David Bowie

David Bowie turns 66 years old today, and has released a brand new song as a birthday present to himself. It's been ten years since he released a new song. Apparently he's been wandering the streets of Berlin. Here it is...

Soaps On-Line

Remember when all of the Soap Operas were cancelled? The creators of those shows assured the die-hard Soap Opera fanatics that the shows would live on...on-line. So far that hasn't been true. But according to this article, that will be changing soon, at least for "All My Children" and "One Life to Live".

Now all they have to do is teach people like my mom how to turn on their computers.

Jimmy Kimmel

He's now officially going up against David Letterman and Jay Leno. All three have something to offer. May the best show win.

Today's Best Tweets

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

MancowMuller ‏@MancowMuller
...Normally, to see the Irish strike out so badly, you need to go into a pub and watch them try to pick up women.

MancowMuller ‏@MancowMuller
...Luckily, Notre Dame's chaplain was on the sideline and was able to administer Last Rites to the team in the third quarter.

MancowMuller ‏@MancowMuller
...But in the end, Alabama fans still have to live in Alabama, so who are the real winners?

BobVorwald ‏@BobVorwald
Somewhere in Florida, Nick Saban is scowling at an omelette and telling his dog Max "I must stop Christmas from coming!"

COPS: Lottery winner killed by cyanide day after collecting $1 million...

HowardKurtz ‏@HowardKurtz
Sirius XM is pushing a sex channel - and it doesn't involve @HowardStern. It's even called Radio Sex. Subtle!

Adam Franklin ‏@radstarr
Oregon Beer Maker Develops Brew for Dogs :@Paste …

Scott Simon ‏@nprscottsimon
Richard Ben Cramer, poet of Teddy Ballgame, Joltin' Joe, & pols. A fine, fierce, funny man, RIP:

Lisa and Ray US99.5 ‏@LisaandRay995
What do you think of Mike Singletary Coaching the Bears? He's in town to interview

Groovyhoovy ‏@Groovyhoovy
Breaking (wind) News: NBC Weatherman Pooped His Pants at the White House

The Cubs Top Prospects

Baseball America ranks the Cubs top ten prospects

1. Javier Baez, ss
2. Albert Almora, of
3. Jorge Soler, of
4. Arodys Vizcaino, rhp
5. Brett Jackson, of
6. Pierce Johnson, rhp
7. Dan Vogelbach, 1b
8. Jeimer Candelario, 3b
9. Kyuji Fujikawa, rhp
10. Arismendy Alcantara, ss

Baseball America actually sounds pretty optimistic about the Cubs 2016! Oh boy, three more years. (Notice where they have Castro playing)


Catcher Welington Castillo
First Base Anthony Rizzo
Second Base Starlin Castro
Third Base Jeimer Candelario
Shortstop Javier Baez
Left Field Brett Jackson
Center Field Albert Almora
Right Field Jorge Soler
No. 1 Starter Jeff Samardzija
No. 2 Starter Matt Garza
No. 3 Starter Arodys Vizcaino
No. 4 Starter Edwin Jackson
No. 5 Starter Pierce Johnson
Closer Juan Carlos Paniagua

The Laughing Elvis

Oldies guru Ron Smith checked in with me today to remind me that it's St. Elvis Day, and on this particular St. Elvis day, with Eckhartz Press' "The Balding Handbook" soaring on the charts, maybe it's time to bring out the infamous Laughing Elvis song.

What made Elvis laugh in this live version of "Are you lonesome tonight"? It was the line..."Do you gaze at your bald head and wish that you had hair?" A bald man pulled off his toupee just as Elvis said that.

The Balding Handbook on TV

Tomorrow morning at 6 AM, The Balding Handbook's David Stern will be arriving at the televison studios for the Mancow show, which airs in Chicago on WPWR-TV. Check him out, he'll be spreading his words of balding wisdom.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Father Knows Nothing

Father Knows Nothing has officially returned for 2013. Here's my first column of the year.

Would you believe it's the beginning of my eighth year writing this column in one form or another? (Two years as "Suburban Man" and five years as "Father Knows Nothing"). The two little boys walking in this picture with me are now 17 and 14 years old.

Today's Best Tweets

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

James Finn Garner ‏@jamesfinngarner
At least the new #NHL season will be almost as long as the playoffs.

Bob Nightengale ‏@BNightengale
Why Bonds,Clemens,Sosa, and the rest of juicers deserve to be in #MLB Hall of Fame as the best of the steroid era.

Groovyhoovy ‏@Groovyhoovy
Lance Armstrong is going to finally admit that he took performance enhancing drugs. That takes a lot of ball.

Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat
#Cubs' leadership confident in youthful foundation via @cubs

Keith Conrad ‏@keithrconrad
Alabama vs. Notre Dame! The Golden Dome vs. The Mobile Home! The Catholics vs. Cousins!

Susan Orlean ‏@susanorlean
Most writing doesn't take place on the page; it takes place in your head.

David Corn ‏@DavidCornDC
The "smoking gun" memo that triggered the @FreedomWorks feud:

david carr ‏@carr2n
Why dinosaurs still dance: For Legacy Media Companies, a Lucrative Year my Monday bit

CBS Chicago ‏@cbschicago
Excited about Obama's next term? Here are the best Chicago ways to celebrate his 2nd inauguration:

Chicago Tribune ‏@chicagotribune
Did somebody say Macca's? McDonald's to dump name in Australia

Just When You Think You Know 'Em

Want to hear something that's hard to believe? My boys were not at all amused by my "You have to go back to school today" song and dance. I guess they don't share my glee.

Go figure.

Jobs Most Likely To Attract Psychopaths

The book "The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success", came up with a top ten list of jobs most likely to attract psychopaths.

The top ten are...

1. CEO
2. Lawyer
3. Media (Television/Radio)
4. Salesperson
5. Surgeon
6. Journalist
7. Police officer
8. Clergy person
9. Chef
10. Civil servant

I'm glad to see that writer isn't on the list, and that both CEO and Lawyer are still ahead of media.

As for the lowest rates of psychopathy:

1. Care aide
2. Nurse
3. Therapist
4. Craftsperson
5. Beautician/Stylist
6. Charity worker
7. Teacher
8. Creative artist
9. Doctor
10. Accountant

I'm claiming #8 for writers everywhere. Phew.

Records Truly Is His Middle Name

The Chicago Sun Times had a piece Sunday written by Mike Thomas that mentioned our upcoming book "Records Truly is My Middle Name" and features a picture of the author, John Records Landecker. (Photo by: Rich Hein/Chicago Sun Times)

Here's the pertinent excerpt...

The newest crop of titles, published in the past couple of months or forthcoming shortly, includes works by WGN-AM (720) agri-business oracle Orion Samuelson, Illinois politician Debbie Halvorson, TV newsman Walter Jacobson and radio broadcaster John Records Landecker.

They all postponed or had serious reservations about taking on one of the most daunting and nerve-racking tasks of their careers.

“What do I want in this?” Landecker says he asked himself during the bookmaking process. “Why am I doing this? This is stupid. Who gives a s---?”

Soon enough, however, he overcame the psychological hump that has hampered writers since time immemorial — and can seem especially towering for someone who’s baring it all in print: Will anyone care?

“You get to the point where [you think], ‘I don’t care if anybody does or not,’ ” Landecker says. His memoir, “Records Truly Is My Middle Name,” was written with the help of Landecker’s former producer Rick Kaempfer and is due out in March from the Chicago-headquartered Eckhartz Press (which Kaempfer co-owns). It includes “a fair share of drugs, sex, indiscretions [and] slightly humorous tales,” the author says, as well as more serious topics.

“It gave me a better perspective on — it sort of sounds clichéd — the real importance of events in my past … that at the time seemed so cataclysmic and in retrospect seem like a blip,” Landecker says of the writing process.

I'm tellin' ya' folks, this is a good book, and I'm not just saying that because I'm the co-writer. John has lived a life that is truly worthy of a book.

I'm sort of glad that I haven't. :)

Jay Leno

It looks like all talks about who will succeed Jay Leno on the Tonight Show have been put to least for a while. Jay just signed an extension beyond 2014.

Beck and Limbaugh on FreedomWorks Payroll

FreedomWorks is the organization that essentially runs the Tea Party. Next time you hear Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh defend or publicize them, you might want to keep this in mind: They are paid to do so. From Tom Taylor's NOW newsletter today...

Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh helped FreedomWorks do fundraising, says Dick Armey. Beck got $1 million or more in 2012, says the former leader of FreedomWorks, but he now thinks the deal yielded “too little value” for the money. Conservative activist Dick Armey says Rush Limbaugh had a similar arrangement, but he’s not sure how much money changed hands. Armey, who left Freedom Works last year, tells Media Matters “I put it down as basically as paid advertising for FreedomWorks by Beck.”... There was talk of “embedded media programs” in association with Beck and Limbaugh, and word that the two personalities had helped the organization raise nearly $1.3 million. Armey says the original terms of the Beck deal were for $250,000, but that “it took on a life of its own…all of a sudden, we were paying Limbaugh as well as Beck.”

Embedded media programs? Let that terminology sink in for a second. Now that we know for sure that Beck and Limbaugh's words during their programs (not during commercials..."embedded" in the actual program) are for sale, can we as a nation just officially agree not to ever again take anything they say seriously?


This about sums it up. Am I right, moms?

Kommt Ein Fogel Geflogen

That's the title of a German song that my mother sang to me as a boy, although I changed the spelling of Vogel to Fogel because of the most recent Chicago radio news. (Vogel is pronounced "Fogel" in German)

This is the radio story: Dave Fogel is back doing mornings...but instead of landing on my foot (like the song), he's landed on K-hits, the direct competitor of the station that fired him (WLS-FM). Germans did invent the word "Schadenfreude". If he's honest, he must be experiencing just a tiny little bit of that right now.

For those of you that would like to sing along with the song my mother sang to me, the full lyrics go like this...

Kommt ein Vogel geflogen,
Setzt sich nieder auf mein' Fuß
Hat ein Zettel im Schnabel,
Von der Mutter (Liebsten) ein' Gruß

Lieber Vogel, flieg weiter,
Bring ein' Gruß mit, einen Kuß
Denn ich kann dich nicht begleiten,
Weil ich hier bleiben muß.

Vogel means bird. Here's the translation of the German song...

A bird comes a-flying
It settles on my foot
It has a piece of paper in its beak,
A greeting from my mother (beloved).

Dear bird, keep flying,
Bring a greeting, a kiss
For I cannot go with you,
Because I must stay here.

It loses a little something in the translation. In German, it's almost sentimental.