Friday, August 23, 2013

50 Years Old Today

Released in the UK on this day in 1963...

Analyzing the Origin of Glove Talking

Really enjoyed this piece by Jayson Stark about the origins of players speaking into their gloves.

I've always thought the father of glove talking was Greg Maddux, and the article does explore that, but it doesn't actually ask Maddux himself. Until I hear him say otherwise, he's still the father of glove-talking to me.

Fire Department Humor

This was sent to me by "BM"...

Vin Scully Coming Back for 2014 Season

When your team wins something like 40 out of 50 games, it has a tendency to keep you young. Vin Scully announced that he has agreed to come back and broadcast the Dodgers games again next season.

It will be his 65th year as their announcer.

ESPN Quits Film Project About NFL Concussions

They had been working on this special for the last 15 months with PBS' Frontline, but yesterday they pulled out. Why? They say they didn't have enough "editorial control", although that situation hasn't changed over the last 15 months. Could there be another reason?

The New York Times speculates that there is. They don't come right out and say it, but it's part of the subtext of the entire article.

ESPN knows where its bread is buttered. They may not have been overtly told to back off by the NFL, but with two other full-time sports networks out there now, you can bet there were discussions in the management offices about how wise it was to tick off their golden calf.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Richard Lewis ‏@TheRichardLewis 31m
Even the POTUS wants to know is Curb is coming back. It would be a "pretty, pretty, pretty " good case for treason if LD disappoints us.

Lisa and Ray US99.5 ‏@LisaandRay995 11m
What was the worst decision you ever made in your 20's? @BuzzFeed got the list spot on SEE HERE

Talking Points Memo ‏@TPM 8m
Obama suggests lame-duck Congress take tips from "Schoolhouse Rock":

Ana Belaval ‏@anabelaval 27m
Working the street corner again. This time on Michigan Ave and River. I have free cookies and that's not code. Come see me @wgnmorningnews

Alison Young ‏@alisonannyoung 26m
Doctor: Man declared dead after heart stops for 45 minutes suddenly comes back to life.

ABC 7 Chicago ‏@ABC7Chicago 1h
Ben Affleck will play Batman in Superman sequel. Good choice?

hodgman ‏@hodgman 1h
Outrage. How could they NOT cast a British actor as Batman? Or at least an Australian. Come on, Hollywood.

Andrea Darlas ‏@AndreaDarlas 1h
Loved @itstonybennett at Ravinia last night. Didn't love getting out of the parking lot...

Jim Johnson ‏@JimJohnsonWLS 3m
“@WSJ: Celine Dion lists her Florida home, with its own water park, for $72 million (I hear its not worth a penny over 71 million)

Jonathan Alter ‏@jonathanalter 14m
Antibiotics alert: Enough to make even carnivores into vegans and animal rights advocates? …

How Would Justin Timberlake Sound Doing Metal?

A musician named Andy Rehfeldt decided to find out. His music mashed up with Justin Timberlake's vocals. Actually not bad...

Last Picture In The Camera

These are going around in an e-mail chain. "DM" was kind enough to include me in the chain. You can see why they are called "Last picture in the camera"

Brandmeier Tease

I like this little video from the GN braintrust...

(Note: His last show on WGN is today)

Green White

One of my on-going writing projects is chronicling the history of Green White Soccer Club, a club co-founded by my father in 1956. Each month I write about another year in Green White history.

This month it's 1979.

Leo Loses It

There have been lots of Cubs losses over the years, but on this day in 1971 Leo Durocher lost more than the game. He lost the clubhouse.

It's today's Cubs 365.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dorothy Parker's Wisdom

Thanks to "JC" for sending this my way...

Brother Louie

This song was #1 forty years ago today. I actually purchased the 45. I still have the song on my iPod...

Today's Best Tweets

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

Barack Obama ‏@BarackObama 5m
Today President Obama says he will "shake up the current system" to #MakeCollegeAffordable: http://OFA.BO/Kg7En1

Lynn Sweet ‏@lynnsweet 1m
Obama student aid proposed crackdown: If you don't finish classes, loans could be cut-off. Do your part, he's telling students.

Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 2m
Sources: DeJesus claimed on revocable waivers by unspecified team. If #Nationals want out of his remaining $2.5M, this is their chance.

Brett Taylor ‏@BleacherNation 10m
#Cubs: Shin-Soo Choo? The Cubs Might Go After Him This Offseason

Smokies on Radio ‏@SmokiesonRadio 19m
@TheBlogfines VIDEO: Javier Baez blasts two home runs at Birmingham on August 21; Take note of the MPH after 2nd HR.

Greg Sargent ‏@ThePlumLineGS 20m
hah! RT @ByronYork: Survey done for GOP members of Congress finds Republicans opposed to shutdown 53% - 37%.

HuffPost Chicago ‏@HuffPostChicago 21m
Passed ball disappears AGAIN during Royals-Sox game

Deadspin ‏@Deadspin 24m
VIDEO: Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield get together and fondly recall the biting incident

Los Angeles Times ‏@latimes 32m
Glenn Burke was ideal Dodger teammate whose sexuality wasn't an issue

Mark Caro ‏@MarkCaro 12m
Yup. RT @dmihalopoulos Absolutely bizarre blog post by @ChicagoFire's PR director

Stay-at-Home Dads Will Never Become the Norm

The title of this blog post is also the title of this article in Time Magazine.

From the article...

It’s true that men who have left work to do their thing as full-time parents has doubled in a decade, but the numbers are still minuscule: only 180,000, according to Census data, which University of Maryland Sociologist Philip N. Cohen calculates is only 0.8% of married couples where the stay-at-home father was out of the labor force for a year.

I agree with the general conclusions in this article, but I will note that the writer isn't writing it with any sense of compassion toward the men who choose that path or aren't allowed to choose it. It's strictly written to prove that women still have it harder. She makes that clear in her last paragraph...

stay-at-home fathers may make all the difference for individual families, but their presence won’t make a dent in the numbers of high-potential women who are forced to choose between family and career.

As a working stay-at-home dad who is very sympathetic to the plight of women in our society, I must admit that I'm still irked by the tone of that last sentence. It just sounds like a sighing, "we'll never be able to count on men to do the right thing."

That may not be the best approach to convince men of your point of view. If it irritates me (who agrees with you), I can only imagine how much it irritates someone who doesn't.

21 Pictures To Restore Your Faith in Humanity

This made my day.

You might have already seen it. It's the most viewed item in Buzzfeed history, which is in itself, another reason to restore your faith in humanity.

The Huffington Post Is Ending Anonymous Comments

The full details are here.

I commend them on this decision. Maybe I can read the Huffington Post now without getting troll bile all over myself.

There's a reason why I don't allow comments on my blogs.

Fired Fox News Exec Speaks Out

But says absolutely nothing.

Save thirty seconds of your life and don't click on the link. He basically says that speculation out there is wrong, but he can't say what happened for legal reasons.

The only statements on the record about this are the stories I linked to yesterday.

Star of "Prison Break" Refuses Russian Film Festival Invitation

And for good reason. He is gay.

It's a pretty dramatic way to come out as gay. This sort of thing is going to be happening more and more. It's pretty hard to imagine agreeing to go to a country that has outlawed you.

I suspect Russia doesn't realize that the rest of the Western world has come a long way on gay issues in the last five years. A very long way.

Score One for Yahoo!

In July, Yahoo! pages were the most visited pages on the internet. That hasn't happened in a very long time (not since 2011).

Periodic Table of Alcohol

Finally a branch of science I can understand. Thanks to "AS" for sending it...


On this day in Cubs history they retired the first number in team history.

That story is today's Cubs 365.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Engine 143

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac, this tidbit from ten years ago today...

August 21, 2003…At the Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee, Johnny Cash recorded his final song "Engine One-Forty-Three," three weeks before his death.

Not So Fast On the Governor Schadenfreude

A few posts below this one, I take a little glee in the corruption of Virginia's governor, because I'm sick and tired of hearing all of my out-of-state friends and relatives (including those in Virginia) making fun of our oft-jailed governors. That glee only lasted about 2 1/2 hours.

Then I saw this: Poll: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn ‘Most Unpopular’ Governor In The Nation. His approval rating is only 25 percent. Those are Dick Cheney-esque numbers.

Even the guy (allegedly) taking bribes in Virginia is more popular than our governor.

Schadenfreude is a dish best not served.

My feelings exactly

Thanks to "OG" for sending this my way...

Today's Best Tweets

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

Andy Gray ‏@si_vault 8m
Wilt Chamberlain would've turned 77 today. Here he is in fourth grade. Can you spot him?

ThinkProgress ‏@thinkprogress 10m
Congressman says he gathered a bunch of lawyers and PHDs and asked "How I can impeach the President?"

Taegan Goddard ‏@politicalwire 12m
Sydney Leathers has made a hardcore porn film

NBC News ‏@NBCNews 2m
Details: Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in prison for massive leak of US secrets

davidfrum ‏@davidfrum 1m
BREAKING: Betrayal of classified documents entrusted to you has serious legal consequences. #Shocker

Jesse Rogers ‏@ESPNChiCubs 1m
In case you missed it last night, a frustrated Castro RT @ESPNChiCubs: Castro hitting eighth: "I dont like it"

James Finn Garner ‏@jamesfinngarner 24m
RT @bardball: Ryne Sandberg
Is now coaching in that grand burg,
The City of Brotherly Love,
Waiting for push to come to shove.

Deadspin ‏@Deadspin 25m
Astros player gets first MLB hit, then wanders off base and gets tagged out:

Jimmy Greenfield ‏@jcgreenx 28m
Jonathan Bostic fined $21,000 for hit against Chargers. In related news, the NFL is now a flag football league.

Robert Loerzel ‏@robertloerzel 9m
RT @GalleyCat: 38% of Readers Will Finish a Book No Matter What

The Case For Getting Drunk At Work

It's not my case, it's Slate Magazine writer Matt Yglesias' case.

I read it though. I'll grant you it didn't take much to convince me, but I'm convinced.

Walking on Sunshine

First day of school today. I am walking on sunshine.

Jon Stewart's Salary

He is now officially the king of late night. Jon Stewart pulls in a cool $25 million a year.

And he's been off all summer.

Top Fox News Executive Fired And Escorted From the Building

I'd love to know the details behind this story: Brian Lewis, executive vp corporate communications, was ousted after an investigation found breach of contract and "issues relating to financial irregularities"

From The Hollywood Reporter...

"After an extensive internal investigation of Brian Lewis' conduct by Fox News, it was determined that he should be terminated for cause, specifically for issues relating to financial irregularities, as well as for multiple, material and significant breaches of his employment contract," a company spokesperson said Tuesday. "He was terminated for cause on July 25."

He was escorted out of the building nearly a month ago, and it's only coming out now? Whatever he did was bad enough to be fired, but yet, they still protected him by allowing his "on vacation" e-mail bounce-back to remain, they delayed the announcement of his firing until someone got wind of it (in this case the Hollywood Reporter), and they only took him off the website on Tuesday (according to the Hollywood Reporter article). Something fishy is going on here.

The New York Daily News has more about Lewis...

Among media reporters who cover the Fox News Channel, Lewis — who rarely spoke to the press — was known as the “puppet master” for maintaining a list of journalists that he and his cohorts considered enemies of the right-leaning network. Getting on that blacklist is typically an honor reserved for those who dare criticize the channel — fairly or not — or the TV personalities who appear on it. Journalists in the Fox News doghouse have allegedly been banned from appearing as guests on the network and are urged, via nasty emails and unreturned phone calls, not to cover the channel.

This isn't just any guy who got escorted out the door. This is Roger Ailes' right hand man. There has to be a good story here. I hope reporters keeping working on finding out what it is.

UPDATE: New York Magazine has more on the story. The article describes the Lewis/Ailes relationship, and takes a stab at guessing the actual reason for his firing, but it's just speculation.

Governor In Trouble

Because of our track record of electing governors in Illinois that eventually wind up in jail, I get a lot of grief from friends and relatives who live out of state. Some of my friends and relatives live in Virginia.

I'm guessing they will no longer be among those giving me grief.

Their governor is about to go down too. From the Washington Post article...

Over a roughly 18-month span in 2011 and 2012, Williams gave $15,000 in clothing to Maureen McDonnell, a $6,500 Rolex watch he intended for the governor, $15,000 for catering at the wedding of one of McDonnell’s daughters and $10,000 as an engagement gift to another daughter. Two people confirmed over the weekend that there were additional gifts, including golf clubs for each of the governor’s college-age twin sons and an iPhone for the first lady.

As Yakov Smirnov used to say: "What a country!"

More on the WGN changes

From Tom Taylor's column this morning, an explanation of why the purchase of the FM will take a little while...

That’s because of the FCC’s local cross-ownership rules, which grandfather in WGN radio, channel 9 WGN-TV and the daily paper, but wouldn’t allow for an additional broadcast property. Also coming at WGN radio – a new slogan, replacing “Voice of Chicago” (introduced by previous GM Tom Langmyer, who once ran “Voice of St. Louis” KMOX (1120). de Castro favors “Chicago’s Very Own,” modeled on the branding of sister WGN-TV. There will be increased sharing of talent between radio and TV, including traffic reports and morning reporters from Channel 9. Any talk of acquiring an FM station probably begins at the doorstep of Merlin Media, which owns classic rock “Loop” WLUP/97.9, hot AC “i101” WIQI and the Channel 6 TV-based revival of alternative WKQX. How would the Merlin backers at Chicago-based GTCR feel about a sale, once Tribune’s got everything lined up? They’ve already got a pending sale of their Philadelphia standalone WWIQ/106.9 to K-Love parent EMF.

And this additional info from Robert Feder's Facebook page...

David Kaplan will continue to talk sports in evenings. Nick Digilio and Pete McMurray are expected to figure in some combination of late-night and overnight shifts. Weekends also are getting makeovers with deCastro zeroing in on former WGN midday stars Kathy O'Malley and Judy Markey for a late Saturday morning show and former "Sunday Papers" host Rick Kogan for a late Sunday night show. Tribune political writer Rick Pearson is slated to host a Sunday morning show, leading into later hours for Dean Richards. Others said to be on deCastro's "wish list" include such big names as Steve Dahl, Roe Conn and John Williams. Stay tuned for more.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The World Champion Cubs

Here they are, the 1908 Cubs, with their very scary mascot. Thanks to Calumet 412 for posting this.

Big Changes at WGN

Wow. The new lineup at WGN debuts on September 3rd, and according to this article in the Chicago Tribune, the new lineup will be much different than the current one.

Check this out...

Mornings--Steve Cochran
9-noon--Bill Leff (with a new unnamed co-host)
Noon-3--Bob Sirott & Marianne Murciano
3-7pm--Garry Meier (with a new unnamed co-host)

Also, Kathy & Judy are coming back to WGN on Saturdays.

A couple of observations about that lineup. In my opinion, that midday lineup is very strong. Bill Leff does a good show, and especially with a co-host. Is it going to be Wendy Snyder? That would be a nice reunion. Steve Cochran never really wanted to leave WGN. He is now doing the time slot they should have given him when Spike O'Dell left.

Also, you'll notice someone missing from that lineup--morning man Jonathon Brandmeier. According to the article, however, he is not being fired, just moved to the internet temporarily as WGN searches for a FM station to purchase. Johnny B will be the morning man on that station, which I think is a better place for him. He is made to rock the FM dial...without the constant stopping and starting that the WGN format demands.

RIP Elmore Leonard

One of the great American writers, Elmore Leonard, has died at the age of 87.

I was a big fan of his unadorned writing style. He just wrote what happened. He didn't bore you with long descriptions of people, places or things, and he didn't tell you what you should think about those people, places or things.

He simply told the story. It was your job to make conclusions.

Back in 1999 I won a national writing contest that was judged by seven or eight best-selling authors, and one of those authors was Elmore Leonard. He chose my essay as the winning entry (out of more than 600 entries). I was always very proud of that.

Today's Best Tweets

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

The Daily Beast ‏@thedailybeast 1m
The fork was for sex? "Sounding" takes off

Sarah Thyre ‏@SarahThyre 6m
Good-bye, Elmore Leonard, and huge thanks for these 10 simple rules for writing:

Michael McKean ‏@MJMcKean 6m
Apart from his great crime writing Elmore Leonard produced some brilliant westerns. Check out Escape From Five Shadows

POLITICO Video ‏@POLITICOvideo 10m
Meet the Obama's new puppy, Sunny:

Slate ‏@Slate 13m
"Finding Nemo" lied to your kids--Nemo is actually a sex-changing hermaphrodite:

Brett Taylor ‏@BleacherNation 24m
#Cubs: David DeJesus Trade: Follow-Up, Analysis, Quotes, Reactions, Etc.

James Finn Garner ‏@jamesfinngarner 18m
Sometimes the team you field in the morning is not the one that comes home at night. #baseballpoetry #limericks

John Arguello ‏@CubsDen 22m
From @CSNMooney - Cubs GM Hoyer defends Starlin Castro, still sees All-Star potential. …

Ezra Klein ‏@ezraklein 21m
Health costs are growing really slowly. Americans haven’t noticed.

Gawker ‏@Gawker 29m
Dad defends guns in Facebook post hours after toddler son shoots himself in the head

Today Show Starts Up a Book Club

Hey, it worked for Oprah. The Today Show is starting up a book club, according to the New York Times.

As a book publisher, I approve. The publishing industry could use a non-amazon shot in the arm.

Movie Flops

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Hmmm. Maybe I'll go to a movie", before looking at the listings and seeing there isn't a single movie you'd like to see?

There's a reason for that. Hollywood has adopted a new philosophy over the past couple of years called the "tentpole strategy". That is, they make fewer films, but the ones they make are all high risk, high reward money gambles costing over $100 million.

This summer eight of those tentpoles didn't make back their money.

Ed Schultz Is Back To Weekdays

A few months ago MSNBC sent Ed Schultz into the wilderness of weekends. Well, the ratings went in the toilet for MSNBC, so lo and behold, Ed is back.

Details at TV Newser.

Father Knows Nothing

This week's Father Knows Nothing is about my discovery while teaching my son how to drive. It's called: "Honk You"

You can read it here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Oprah Gets Her Mojo Back

In media circles over the past year or two, people have been wondering if Oprah has lost her touch. Her cable channel is struggling, and even her big specials on that channel don't bring in the kind of numbers she anticipated.

On the other hand, she's in a movie right now called "The Butler".

It's #1 at the box office, and those same people who questioned her, are now giving her credit for the movie's success. The LA Times has the latest.

E-mails, we get e-mails...

This one is from "DS". I thought it was pretty clever...

You ever notice that if you remove the vowels from Reince Preibus, you're left with...RNC PR BS


The backyard scoreboard now reads Neighborhood Skunk 4--My Dog Ivy 0.

She got it right in the face...again.


It's the anniversary of a Cubs no-hitter in 1969.

Read all about it at Cubs 365.