Friday, March 01, 2013

The Ilinois Entertainer

Cara Jepsen's last column as Illinois Entertainer's media critic is out today.

I'll be making my debut as her replacement a month from today. She says so herself in the last paragraph.

Looking forward to it.

Records Truly Is My Middle Name Available for Pre-Order Now!

The orders are already coming in! Very excited about this. You can order your copy today!

The book ships on March 28th.

Eckhartz Press Re-Designed Website

Very excited about the re-designed website for Eckhartz Press. Thanks so much to our web designer Tony Kim

You can check it out here. I believe it's a big day on the site anyway...a certain book is available for pre-order NOW!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Green White History

One of my on-going writing projects is chronicling the history of Green White Soccer Club, a club co-founded by my father. Each month I write about one year from the club's rich past, and this month it's 1973.

You can read it here.

Tom Petty

I've always been a Tom Petty fan, so I welcome this news on the WXRT website: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Announce Summer Tour (And They’re Working On A New Album)

Cubs 1979

Is there any sight in the world that says "punch me" more than Pete Rose?

Today's Best Tweets

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

CNN Breaking News ‏@cnnbrk
LIVE BLOG: Pope Benedict XVI says goodbye on last day as pontiff.

Bernie Tafoya ‏@ChicagoFile
Cardinals said "goodbye" to #BenedictXVI & in this video #Chicago's Cardinal George is shown first. … #Catholic

Troy Aikman ‏@TroyAikman
Dissecting cow eyes this morning in my daughter's 4th grade class...and why did I volunteer to help again??

Patrick Mooney ‏@CSNMooney
Brett Jackson's getting good reviews, but #Cubs sticking w/Triple-A plan. Sveum: “I don’t think it changes anything."

Skimping on sleep can change your genes via @HealthyLiving

Taegan Goddard ‏@politicalwire
Apparently Bob Woodward didn't know that today's reporters have a different maxim: "Follow the emails"

Greg Pollowitz ‏@GPollowitz
what this really shows is that if Twitter was around in Nixon's time, Deep Throat would've been identified by @buzzfeed in about 3 hrs.

Rob Hart ‏@RobHart1980
"Bob Woodward was threatened by Gene Sperling!" - President of the Hair Club for Men?

David Plouffe ‏@davidplouffe
Watching Woodward last 2 days is like imagining my idol Mike Schmidt facing live pitching again. Perfection gained once is rarely repeated.

Greg Veis ‏@gpveis
Jogger passes me this am. Three steps ahead, he rips the biggest fart. "Dude!" I yell disbelievingly. And HE flips ME off. Whatta town!


How well is Matt Drudge doing selling advertising on his Drudge Report website?

He just bought his neighbor's house for $700,000. In cash.

If you're ever hoping for civil discourse to return to America, remember that there is literally no incentive for those who spark outrage to change. In fact, the opposite is true. They make a fortune doing what they do. Glenn Beck's web channel brought in $40 million last year. The NRA, as it has gone completely off the deep end, has raked in a fortune.

There's a lot of money in outrage.

It's the national pasttime.

Chicago's Cable Cars

I've done a lot of research about Chicago history for two books I ultimately chose not to write, but every time I did the research I found it fascinating. This book about Chicago Cable Cars sounds like something I would check out. The author is at the Book Cellar tonight.

Details in Shore Magazine.

Your Homework is...The Living Wills

This just sounds so preposterous to me, but it's absolutely true. My co-author Brendan Sullivan writes on his Facebook page today...

"This Spring, Marist High School's "Chicago Literature" class is reading "The Jungle," "The House on Mango Street," "A Raisin in the Sun" and "The Living Wills," by yours truly and Rick Kaempfer. Not bad company. I'm ecstatic and humbled."

The whole time we were writing it, Brendan and I were trying to figure out what genre it was. We both said, "well, it's not exactly literature."

I guess we were wrong!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mr. Rogers

10 years ago today Mr. Rogers passed away at the age of 74.

I always considered this to be the very best Mr. Rogers parody. It was performed by Christopher Guest (as Mr. Rogers) and Bill Murray (as the bass player), from the National Lampoon album "That's not funny, that's sick."

I'm a proud owner of that LP.

Today's Best Tweets

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

DL Hughley ‏@RealDLHughley
Carl Pistorious the brother of Bladerunner is facing Manslaughter charges himself! Damn! The family that Slays together makes bail together

Chicago Blackhawks ‏@NHLBlackhawks
It's "Hossa Week," as we look ahead to Hoss' 1,000th NHL game! Today, #81 talks about his path to NHL stardom:

Ezra Klein ‏@ezraklein
Bernanke: The sequester could make it harder to reduce the deficit, not easier

Mark Duffy ‏@copyranter
12 very funny or very unfortunate billboard placements:

Taegan Goddard ‏@politicalwire
Another day, another Republican questioning Obama's birthplace

Andy Shaw ‏@AndyShawBGA
Jesse Jackson Jr. writing a memoir to "clear up his legacy" …

Chet Coppock ‏@ChetCoppock
He is first, last and always the moving van!!! A tribute Blog on a man i will forever miss Norm Van Lier...

The billionaire building the Titanic II says it will be so successful he'll "have to build Titanic III":

U.S. Dept. of Fear ‏@FearDept
"What could we be doing to make our audience even stupider?" Executives at our media partners ask this question everyday.

alan cox ‏@alancoxshow
Retiring businessman looking forward to playing more golf: "Just gonna get back to hitting balls." Retiring Pope: "Same."

Taylor Swift Duet with a Goat

Made me laugh...

F.C.C. Ownership Rule Update

From Tom Taylor's NOW Newsletter today...

FCC’s Genachowski postpones a vote on ownership. Monday’s newsletter told you that the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council asked for a delay of “at least a couple of months,” until the completion of a research study from BIA/Kelsey. Yesterday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski agreed to wait a while longer. His outline of a relaxation of media ownership rules is pretty similar to Republican predecessor Kevin Martin – and he’s got the same objections, from those who say it’s too much, and those (like Republican Commissioner Rob McDowell) who say it’s too timid. There’s also the question of whether Genachowski will soon be gone from the 8th Floor, into another Administration job (there’s little chatter of that) or back to private life. His term’s up in June, though he could stay through December 2014.

This is just one of those things the public DOES NOT WANT TO HAPPEN. Keep on bringing it up, and we'll keep on flooding your offices with angry responses. It's a terrible idea. Stop bringing it up.

The Trib's 'For Sale' Sign

CNBC broke the story yesterday. Breaking News from CNBC's Kayla Tausche: Tribune Company Hires Bankers to Sell Newspapers

Yes, I know it's not exactly a breaking story anymore, but it is a huge story in Chicago. I wonder if Warren Buffett, who has been on a newspaper-buying binge, is interested.

Cablevision Sues Viacom

Ah, you gotta like it when the big boys get all pissy with each other. From this morning's New York Times...

"To all the cable customers who have ever wondered, “Why am I paying so much money for channels I never watch?” Cablevision has an answer: it’s Viacom’s fault. The cable distributor on Tuesday sued Viacom, the owner of MTV and Nickelodeon, saying that the company violated antitrust law by bundling those big channels with barely known ones like Tr3s and Palladia, in that way forcing cable companies and their customers to pay for channels that few people watch."

Cable News Ain't What It Used to Be

The ratings are down across the board for cable news stations, which I just think is a sign of our weariness as a country. The voices are shrill on the left and the right, and our news is given to us from only those perspectives.

On the other hand, CNN tries to play it straight, and their numbers are way down too.

Maybe it's the entire cable television industry.

More Mancow

Robert Feder has the scoop in his column today...

Now you can see Mancow Muller on TV seven days a week. Since October, the veteran radio personality has been simulcasting his syndicated morning show live from 6 to 8am Monday through Friday on Fox-owned WPWR-Channel 50. Last week he added a half-hour recap of the show’s highlights, Mancow Mashup, airing at 11:30pm Saturdays on WFLD-Channel 32 and 11pm Sundays on Channel 50.

That's a picture of Mancow below with Eckhartz Press author David Stern...

An interview with Randy Richardson

Eckhartz Press author Randy Richardson chats with the folks at Bookcast about his book "Cheeseland"

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Jockline Daily Plugs "Records Truly Is My Middle Name"

Jockline Daily goes out to disc jockeys across the country...

FEBRUARY 26thTH, 2013 –– Landecker's "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" Available By Pre-Order March 1st. Chicago's iconic host, John Records Landecker's new book which debuts on March 28, but it will available for pre-order at beginning March 1.

It's called "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" by John Records Landecker (Produced by Rick Kaempfer). It covers John's 40+ years in broadcasting (WLS, WIBG, CFTR,WLUP, WCKG, WJMK, etc), features some GREAT stories, incredible pictures, and additional stories about John from more than 30 other people that have worked with like (shown L-R,) Tommy Edwards, Steve King, Yvonne Daniels, Larry Lujack and Bob Sirott and many, many more. NOTICE: Landecker and many greats from the legendary "Big 89/WLS," will be joining Morning Show Boot Camp in Chicago in August for a special "Learning from the Masters" segment, moderated by Cumulus' Jan Jeffries. Stay tuned for details coming soon.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Tommy Edwards

Father Knows Nothing

My latest Father Knows Nothing has been posted at

This one is about my affliction: Worry-itis.

I'm afraid it's terminal.

Know Thy Enemy

One man battles his arch enemy: Carbs.

Well written and convincing. Every time I've given up carbs, I've lost weight. Every time. Sometimes as much as 20 or 25 pounds. (And I only weigh about 170)

Sadly, beer is basically liquid carbs, so my excursions to low-carb land are infrequent and usually during Lent. A good old-fashioned smiting seems to be the only power strong enough to keep me in line.

Dancing With The Stars

The new cast for this season (which begins on Monday, March 18th) has been announced. The "stars" are as follows...

"Shake It Up!" star Zendaya Coleman with Val Chmerkovskiy
Ingo Rademacher of "General Hospital" fame with Kym Johnson
Jacoby Jones of the Baltimore Ravens with Karina Smirnoff
Boxer Victor Ortiz with Lindsay Arnold
Kellie Pickler, former "American Idol" contestant and country singer with Derek Hough
Country superstar Wynonna Judd with Tony Dovolani
Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman with Mark Ballas
Lisa Vanderpump star of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" and "Vanderpump Rules" with Gleb Savchenko
Comedian D.L. Hughley with Cheryl Burke
Andy Dick with Sharna Burgess
Olympic legend Dorothy Hamill with Tristan MacManus

I've never heard of five of them. (That's actually better than usual)

I may even watch the first week so I can see Andy Dick's only appearance.

His Future's So Bright...

...He's gotta wear shades. I keep saying this to myself: "Don't get too excited. Don't get too excited. Don't get too excited." And then I read an article like this about Cubs prospect Jorge Soler, and...and...

OK, easy, Rick. Easy. Remember Corey Patterson. Remember Felix Pie. Remember Brooks Kieschnick. Breathe. Phew. OK, back to reality. That was close.

The Demise of the Radio Critic

This is a piece in Billboard Magazine written by former Chicago programmer Mike Stern, and featuring quotes from Time Out Chicago's Robert Feder.

Feder adds that great hosts once drove the medium’s appeal to listeners. “Radio, particularly radio in Chicago, used to be defined by personalities, and that was a large part of what made radio such an attractive and vibrant part of people’s lives. But those personalities are gone.” And the remaining hosts are muzzled by PDs, whom he says have more control of what goes over the air than ever before. “Program directors are now calling all the shots. They control, to a dangerous degree, what a personality can do on the air. It’s no longer a performance the way it was.”

Just the sort of thing I want to read a month before my first column in the Illinois Entertainer. :) Mr. Feder's right, of course. But we've gone through lulls before. Here's hoping this lull is temporary.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Deborah Potter ‏@TVNewsLab
Time's up. 40 years after first teaming up @CBSChicago, Kurtis & Jacobson to sign off for good.

Dave Martin ‏@martindave
The new Bowie has landed. Tilda Swinton plays his wife in the video

Steve Grzanich ‏@SteveGrzanich
NWS: Snowfall rates of 1-inch per hour poss this afternoon w/thundersnow bringing heavier accum in some areas. Winds 40mph. #Chicago

Ron Smith ‏@oldiesmusic
Dennis Rodman & 3 Harlem Globetrotters are in Pyongyang, North Korea on a diplomatic mission. Time to dig out those "duck & cover" lessons.

Groovyhoovy ‏@Groovyhoovy
Happy Birthday to Michael Bolton. I still have a lock of your long frizzy hair in the zipper of my stonewashed jeans.

Eric & Kathy ‏@EricandKathy
We came in this morning and found a note from our engineer that says his pager is off and call in case we need him. PAGER?!? #WelcomeTo2013

Steve Cushing ‏@Montberte
Oxymoron of the day: demanding patient. #stevec

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
Man found with 100 bags of heroin in his anus

Dalai Lama ‏@DalaiLama
The challenge today is to convince people of the value of truth, honesty, compassion and a concern for others.

jamesvanosdol ‏@jamesvanosdol
Come for the Akerkulla panel curtains, stay for the meatballs made from horse.

Mitch Ryder

Happy birthday to one of the underrated great musical artists from the 1960s, Mitch Ryder...

Big Pope Question Answered

Thank God the AP is on this story...

"While he will no longer wear his trademark red shoes, Benedict has taken a liking to a pair of hand-crafted brown loafers made for him by artisans in Leon, Mexico and presented to him during his 2012 visit. He will wear them in retirement."

Another Classic Rock Station for Chicago

From Tom Taylor's column today...

Northwest of Chicago, a new classic rock “Fox” is uncaged at WWYW (103.9). The Mile High Station Trust is handling the longtime NextMedia station licensed to Dundee, and general manager Jack Taddeo says that going classic rock is a better move for listeners and advertisers. In fact, Taddeo says it’s even good for sister station “Star 105.5”, WZCH, Woodstock, Illinois. The move away from classic hits at WWYW puts more distance between it and “Star.” Taddeo says the new “Fox” will feature “a live and local morning show hosted by Midwest rock radio vet Ben Herman,” who’s worked for Clear Channel in Des Moines and for Saga. Ben’s got a late-night gig second life a standup comedian. Ryan Wild segues from “Star” to program the new Fox and do middays. Afternoons are “JP,” or Jonathan Peletis, followed by “Nights with Alice Cooper” from United Stations. Look for Foxy new call letters at WWYW, which was known as WZCH until 2004.

A confession: I didn't even know this station existed.

Salsa Dancing Dog

Some high brow entertainment for a Tuesday morning...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Records Truly Is My Middle Name, The Soundtrack

What do George Harrison, George Carlin, John Travolta, Sylvester Stallone, Mel Brooks & Carl Reiner, the cast of Star Wars, Tom Hanks, Mary Tyler Moore, Marilu Henner, Walter Payton, Michael Douglas, Tina Turner, and Martha Stewart have in common?

All of them will be appearing on the upcoming CD companion piece to John Landecker's memoir, Records Truly Is My Middle Name.

We were in the recording studio all day yesterday working on it. Very exciting stuff. The book comes out on March 28. The soundtrack will be out before summer.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Bill Zwecker ‏@billzwecker
@MichelleObama announcing best picture at #Oscars was biggest surprise --- and best kept secret in recent Oscar history.

Joe Conason ‏@JoeConason
Surely the wingnuts ware furious back when FDR greeted the #oscars audience in 1941. Nobody really cared what they thought then, either.

Chuck Goudie ‏@ChuckGoudieABC7
Covering #Daniel Day-Lewis' butt. An #Oscars story you won't see anywhere else: "The Goudie's Night At the...

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
Why is everyone hating on Anne Hathaway? #Oscars

Rob Hart ‏@RobHart1980
To reiterate: Seth McFarlane - funny. The people bitching about his performance would also be bitching about Billy Crystal.

NY Daily News Photos ‏@NYDNPhotos
And down she goes! Jennifer Lawrence trips on her way to accept the Oscar for Best Actress #Oscars

MancowMuller ‏@MancowMuller
Ang Lee delivered a portion of his acceptance speech for Best Director in Taiwanese. Yet he was still more understandable than Tarantino.

Robin Baumgarten ‏@WGNRobin
Next time, I'm watching the Hawks. @NHLBlackhawks

Lisa and Ray US99.5 ‏@LisaandRay995
Should you tell your kids about your partying past (Drugs & Alcohol)? New study says it's not a good idea!

Ron Smith ‏@oldiesmusic
Kiss guitarist hasn't paid his mortgage (or taxes) in two years. Bank naturally forecloses:


My weekend consisted of helping to make the famous Green-White sausage (which was fun), and then emceeing the Green White Schlachtfest. (Green White is the soccer club co-founded by my father in the 1950s). It was my first public appearance, by the way, wearing my cheaters. I couldn't see my script. Ah, aging. It's a beautiful thing.

The sausage got rave reviews. The glasses, not so much.

John Fogerty

John Fogerty has a new album coming out in May called "A Song For Everyone". It sounds interesting. From today's RAMP Newsletter...

The bulk of the album features classic Fogerty/Creedence classics reimagined with the help of some A-list musical collaborators. We're talking "Fortunate Son" with Foo Fighters; "Almost Saturday Night" featuring Keith Urban; "Bad Moon Rising" with the Zac Brown Band; "Born On The Bayou" featuring Kid Rock; "Who'll Stop The Rain" with Bob Seger and "Long As I Can See The Light" stars My Morning Jacket. The title track, "Wrote A Song For Everyone" is enhanced with the beautiful voice of Miranda Lambert along with a "face-melting" guitar solo from Tom Morello. The album also contains a terrific new song, "Mystic Highway" and a version of "Lodi" that's very special to Fogerty because a) he's accompanied by his sons Shane and Tyler, and b) the track was recorded at the historic Abbey Road Studios in London.

I'm in. The release date is May 28.

Toxic Work Environment

A morning show member in Oregon tested the legal boundaries of "toxic work environment" and lost. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

"The jury in Eugene took less than two hours to discard all claims made by former morning show cast member Michael Fleming. He claimed that the toxic work environment eventually prevented him from coming back, says the Register-Guard. That followed Chat “Tanner” Haney supposedly firing him from the show, when Fleming wouldn’t play along with a Super Bowl stunt. But Bicoastal Media says Haney wasn’t Fleming’s supervisor and wasn’t in a position to fire him. And that Fleming never complained through the proper channels about the alleged abuse. As the Register-Guard put it, Bicoastal’s defense is that Fleming “knew what he was getting into, kept going back voluntarily, and never claimed age or sex discrimination until he filed the lawsuit.”

The radio station is lucky I wasn't on the jury. I personally don't think you can understand what a toxic work environment is like unless you've lived it. And once you've lived it, you never forget it.

An Unusual Way to Keep an Eye on the Cubs

This Iraq War vet decided to get the Cubs logo on his prosthetic eye.

Oscars Highlight

For me, it was this song.

I honestly had no idea that Seth MacFarlane could sing. By the way, have you ever seen Seth and Peter Brady in the same room at the same time?