Saturday, November 02, 2013

Wendy Snyder

I wrote this month's Illinois Entertainer media column about WGN's Wendy Snyder.

You can read it here.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Cubs Manager Search

One of the leading candidates for the Cubs manager job is the son of the producer of "Hee Haw". Not making that up.

Read about him here.


From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac, this little tidbit from 50 years ago today...

November 1, 1963…At RCA Victor's Music Center Of The World in Hollywood, Lorne Greene recorded "Ringo."

This was before America had heard of the Beatle.

The song, by the way, plays a major role in my last novel "The Living Wills". I'm betting it's the only novel in history to use Lorne Greene as a plot device.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Hub Arkush ‏@Hub_Arkush 11m
Stopping the Packers on Monday night looks like a lost cause for this year's Bears defense. My Friday column:

Scott Simon ‏@nprscottsimon 12m
Overheard on locker room this morning: "Yoga, vegetables, fiber--I'll be healthy just in time to die." ‏@Chicagoist 23m
All unsold Dominick's stores will close by Dec. 28 if a buyer can't be found. Merry Christmas, huh?

Gawker ‏@Gawker 24m
Wife kicks out husband after reading his dumb Internet comment

ChiTribSports ‏@ChiTribSports 33m
Video: Watch Rose's game-winning shot from all angles

daveweigel ‏@daveweigel 43m
Why Dems are comfortable w/ reforming the filibuster and unleashing fire, brimstone, etc

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 1h
Cristiano Ronaldo's bold underwear ads are going to give David Beckham a run for his money

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 1h
Mick Jagger "categorically denies" ever hitting on Katy Perry

The Daily Show ‏@TheDailyShow 2m
#TDSBreakingNews FDA: 12% of spice imports tainted with insects. Or for the optimists out there, 88% of insect imports seasoned with spices.

Slate ‏@Slate 8m
Socialistic paradise Sweden is one of the top nations in the world at producing billionaires. How that happened:

Real Life Heroes

This is a pretty amazing video of real people in the act of saving real lives.

It's the sort of thing that restores your faith in humanity.

Just One Missing Letter...

...can be so important. Thanks "MB" for this one...

Barsky Update

Former Chicago morning man Paul Barsky continues to recover from his serious injuries. He posted last night on his facebook page...

Hello everyone.. here's quick update on my recovery ....One more week to go and I'm out of this hard cervical collar, then over to a soft collar for 2 more weeks, then FREEDOM !

BTW, tonight I was handing out Halloween candy with my giant cervical collar on , and most of these kids didn't know what to make of it. When I asked one of the little tykes what he was he said "a ninja warrior ". He looked at my collar then asked me, "who are you ?" And I replied " I'm a guy who was driving one day in March of this year ,when out of nowhere BAM, I was blind sided by a van, ended up with a crushed spinal cord and had to have cervical spine surgery ".... after 5 seconds or so of no reaction, he just turned and walked away. Realizing that I may have gotten a bit too descriptive and probably took his inquiry the wrong way, as he headed down the driveway I shouted in my best super hero voice... " I'm Neck Braceman !" Looking back I think that would have been a better answer to his original question.

Clearly, being holed up in the house away from my radio show for the past 10 weeks ....has taken a toll.

Clock Change/Traffic Day

This is the weekend we turn back the clocks an hour. While it's not a big deal to most of us, it's the hardest day of the year for radio traffic directors (not car traffic, radio commercial traffic). They have to create a 25-hour commercial log that repeats the 1am hour, but doesn't repeat the same commercials, using computer programs clearly not designed to do that.

I've been on the air a few times when that clock was moved back an hour, and I remember how confusing that used to be. (But I was paid hourly, so I made an extra hour's pay!)

Anyway, in honor of that task, the Traffic Directors Guild of America (a real organization) has declared November 4th "Traffic Day". Happy Traffic Day, in advance. I've never worked with a traffic director I didn't like. It's a difficult and often thankless job, and they are never singled out and given recognition. It's about time.


It's that time of year again. The RAMP Newsletter explains the concept...

Hey guys -- you are cordially invited to participate in a month-long "upper lip enhancement initiative" -- and help out a worthy cause at the same time. A quick check of the calendar indicates this is the first day of "Movember," a global charity that is working to change the face of men's health. Dudes around the globe today are simultaneously beginning the cultivation of a glorious moustache (a.k.a. "Mo"). Through the power of the "Mo," vital funds and awareness are raised to combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges.

I'd rather not get divorced, so I'll have to find a different way to support the charity. The wife has been crystal clear on this subject. The featured mustache, by the way, belongs to Carmen Fanzone, from his 1975 baseball card.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Green White Soccer Club

One of my on-going writing projects is chronicling the history of Green White Soccer Club, a club co-founded by my dad in 1956. Every month I write about another year in club history. This month it's 1981--the year I graduated high school. (I played for Green White that year too).

You can read it here.

David Bowie

Halloween Inspired New Video from David Bowie...

The Halloween Grinch

For some reason my son Tommy has never gotten into the whole Halloween thing. I'm not sure why. He has hated it since he was three. About five years ago it inspired me to write the following poem, which I'm reposting today.


Everyone loves Halloween. Everyone you’ve met. Everyone you’ve seen.

But not in our house high above Booville. The Halloween Grinch is living there still.

He won’t wear a costume. He won’t trick or treat. He won’t even hand out candy to people he meets.

The Grinch hates Halloween - the whole Halloween season. Now, please don't ask why; no one quite knows the reason.

I’ve given up trying to figure it out. I’ve given up asking him what it’s about.

For though I’m the Grinch’s father, I have two more boys. They both love Halloween candy, and they both love Halloween toys.

They love wearing the costumes, and ringing the bell. And I always love going along as well.

I love watching their joy as the candy goes plop, from the first house we visit until we finally stop.

But because the Halloween Grinch is the one left at home, he won’t answer the door when he’s all alone.

So we end up with candy that isn’t given away, and then I’m left alone with a candy buffet.

Last year I decided to put an end to that. There’s no need for Dad to get doughy and fat.

So I sent the Halloween Grinch to his room, and I manned the door beginning at noon.

I was determined to hand out every Twix and KitKat, and I didn’t care what the Grinch said about that.

I sent the two younger boys out all alone, but before they left our little home, I made sure they knew to watch out for each other, as they trick or treated dressed as the Mario Brothers.

“OK, who can tell me what the buddy system is?” Sean raised his hand. He was ready for this quiz.

“We have to stick together,” he said. His big brother nodded, and both of them fled.

“It will never work,” said the Grinch from his room. “Those two will fight wearing those costumes.”

But for fifteen great minutes I handed out Twix, to all the Boos who wanted treats and tricks.

Until one little boy dressed up as a Q-tip, had a paper mustache attached to his lip.

It looked very much like the ones I made that day, for the two little boys that I just sent away.

He told me he got it just down the street. It was lying on a driveway, on the concrete.

Mario and Luigi had ripped off their stashes, in between punches, and lunges, and smashes.

They were fighting over who got to ring the doorbell, and needless to say, it didn’t turn out too well.

I marched out to the sidewalk, and what did I see? Mario and Luigi coming home to me.

The two crying boys running on asphalt, both were screaming “It was all his fault!”

While I broke up the fight on my front lawn, I looked at the window, and you know who I saw?

The Halloween Grinch.

In Booville they say that the Grinch's Halloween smile grew three sizes that day.

With that smile on his face, he wandered our way, and he had a few things that he wanted to say.

“Next year, I volunteer to supervise, but I won’t wear a costume or a silly disguise. I still hate the concept of Halloween, but next year I will be fourteen. That’s old enough not to have to participate, and as long as I don’t have to, everything will be great.”

I made the deal, and I’m looking forward to that.

It'll keep me away from the candy, so Dad won’t get fat.

50 Years Ago Today

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

October 31, 1963…At London's Heathrow Airport, the Beatles arrived home from a tour of Sweden to find 50,000 screaming fans waiting for them. Also at the airport was U.S. television host Ed Sullivan, who noticed the excitement. "Who are those guys?" he asked a bystander, who told him they were "England's foremost singing group." Even though he had never heard them perform, Sullivan immediately contacted their manager Brian Epstein to book the band for three appearances on his CBS show early in 1964.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Larry King ‏@kingsthings 5m
Congrats to the @RedSox - they certainly deserved it!

Cara Carriveau ‏@CaraCarriveau 12m
Breaking news from FAA - u now can use cell phones and tablets during the entire length of a flight (but no phone calls though). #finally

Michael Ian Black ‏@michaelianblack 17m
People who fantasize about lives they could be living but aren't: TODAY IS YOUR DAY!!!

Gilbert Gottfried ‏@RealGilbert 16m
What happens when a skeleton watches porn? He gets a bone. #HappyHalloween #TrickOrTreat I apologize to skeletons.

Lou Brutus ‏@LouBrutus 20m
You can't have a Happy Halloween if you Trick or Treat in a costume with no zipper. Here's my poem on the subject:

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 31m
Miley Cyrus gets into the Halloween spirit by posting pics of sexually explicit pumpkins (NSFW PHOTO)

People magazine ‏@peoplemag 10m
Have you seen Miley's Halloween costume? It's a throwback.

Groovyhoovy ‏@Groovyhoovy 24m
People keep asking me where my costume is. Well, I figure I wear them 364 days a year so I can take today off.

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 2m
Local Republican Party deletes racist slavery meme after no one laughs ‏@BillMoyersHQ 9m
Can Science Explain Tea Partiers' Rage?

Why I Quit Major League Baseball

I love this article in the New Yorker, written by former Cub Adrian Cardenas. He's a pretty darn good writer, by the way.

21 Reasons Why Being a Redhead is Awesome

For my wife, the redhead.

Buzzfeed has the list.

Pumpkin Stealing

I thought this sign from a woman in Washington summed it up pretty nicely (via Twitter)

Why we have a ridiculous standard of beauty

In 37 seconds...

Nobody could live up to that in real life.

I found this on the website upworthy, which also has a good commentary for moms to share with their daughters.


Three senior journalists from Rupert Murdoch's British media empire have pleaded guilty to phone hacking. The even bigger fish are going in the fryer next. Surely the guilty pleas won't help their cases either.

Reuters has more details here.

Late Update: UK Prosecutor says News of the World executives Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson had a six-year affair. This story is getting more and more interesting.

Dan McNeil

Earlier this year I did profile of Dan McNeil, an old pal of mine going back to our Loop days. The gist of the piece was that he had finally conquered his demons and seemed to be truly happy for the first time since I've known him.

Unfortunately, it sounds like something has happened again. Robert Feder has the story. It's a little vague because Dan hasn't said anything publicly yet. The article refers to personal problems and family issues.

I'm rooting for the guy. I hope he gets whatever is going on under control, and finds his contentment once again.

Bears to Get HD Channel?

From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Chicago Bears explore a fulltime HD Radio subchannel with CBS. “How cool is that?” asks Bears President Ted Phillips. Though he’s got an eye on the penetration of HD Radios around Chicago (“still not that high”), and says the talks probably won’t lead to a station until perhaps 2015. The folks at iBiquity are talking about the number of new cars equipped with HD Radios, and the Bears will be tracking that. Contractually, the team already has the rights to use the HD3 channel of CBS Radio’s 105.9, and Ed Sherman at the Chicago Tribune says they’d be working out of its new 40,000-square foot multimedia facility at Halas Hall. CBS has the rights for the Bears on its all-news simulcast of WBBM (780) and WCFS (105.9, the onetime AC “Fresh”).

Who is going to break it to the Bears that nobody listens to HD Radio?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Thank You Hater!

Love this song about anonymous and mean people who comment on YouTube videos, but it applies to all anonymous on-line comments. Brilliant, although definitely NSFW.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Nico Hines ‏@NicoHines 12m
News of the World reporter was found in possession of 15 royal phone directories. Allegedly for use in the hacking of voicemails.

Drunk clown accused of dangling child from overpass after Halloween party...

Lizz Winstead ‏@lizzwinstead 8m
AGAIN-Why are you calling it a hearing if you won't STFU so you can HEAR. #Grandstandathon #Obamacare

New York Daily News ‏@NYDailyNews 17m
Dick move: Depressed bachelor cuts off penis then forgets to bring it to ER. (Warning: Graphic photo.) Chicago ‏@DNAinfoCHI 35m
It began spewing from a North Center sidewalk more than a decade ago, but THE BLOB still mystifies locals

Chet Coppock ‏@ChetCoppock 37m
the verdict is in.....164 people indicated last night that they want me to write my life story....done! i'm gonna do it.

Steve Bertrand ‏@SteveBertrand 38m
Cool! check out the pics. RT @BuzzFeed: This boy wandered on stage to hang out with the Pope

MLB ‏@MLB 1m
And, of course, we can't forget Game 6 in 1975: #WorldSeries

Slate ‏@Slate 3m
FACT: The Red Sox beards are lazy, gross, and out of control:

Nancy Cross ‏@nanneroo33 5m
"When people are motivated mostly by greed and jealousy, it is not possible for them to live in harmony." Dalai Lama

Another Proud Illini Moment

It ain't easy bein' an Illini fan.

This past weekend, we not only lost our homecoming game 42-3 (to Michigan State), our quarterback's father was arrested and banned from attending Illinois games for life.

How was your weekend?

New F.C.C. Chairman Confirmed

Senator Ted Cruz was putting a hold on this nomination, but gave up after hearing the chairman promise he wouldn't change the political advertising laws.

Full story is here.

Intellectual Jokes

I got these from the thought catalog website. I thought a few of them were hilarious...

It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.

Q: What does the “B” in Benoit B. Mandelbrot stand for?
A: Benoit B. Mandelbrot.

Did you hear about the jurisprudence fetishist? He got off on technicality…

Werner Heisenberg, Kurt Gödel, and Noam Chomsky walk into a bar. Heisenberg turns to the other two and says, “Clearly this is a joke, but how can we figure out if it’s funny or not?” Gödel replies, “We can’t know that because we’re inside the joke.” Chomsky says, “Of course it’s funny. You’re just telling it wrong.”

A biologist, a chemist, and a statistician are out hunting. The biologist shoots at a deer and misses 5ft to the left, the chemist takes a shot and misses 5ft to the right, the statistician yells “We got ‘em!”

there are two types of people in the world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data sets

A Photon checks into a hotel and the bellhop asks him if he has any luggage. The Photon replies “No I’m traveling light”

A German walks into a bar and asks for a martini. The bartender asks “dry?”, he replies “nein, just one”

There’s a band called 1023MB. They haven’t had any gigs yet.

A Buddhist monk approaches a hotdog stand and says “make me one with everything”.

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
To who?
No, to whom.

Silver and Gold walk into a bar. Bartender says “‘ey you, get outta here!” Gold leaves the bar.

Turn Back the Clock This Weekend!

Or as "CR" put it in this card she sent...

Behind the Scenes with John Records Landecker at WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" (Photos, Video & Commentary)

We had to pre-tape the segment because "Chicago Tonight" is on at the same time as John's radio show on WLS-FM, so I arrived around 4:45 for a 5:00 taping. When I got there, John was already in the dressing room.

"Deja Vu?" I asked.

"You're telling me," he replied.

John was a regular contributor to "Chicago Tonight" for several years about a decade ago. It was obvious that he was fondly remembered. He couldn't take more than a few steps down the hallway without being warmly greeted by technicians, producers, and WTTW office staff. After rekindling old relationships, he went into the makeup chair (the makeup artist also remembered him and had friendly banter with John), before being ushered onto the "Chicago Tonight" set. Phil Ponce hadn't yet arrived, so John reminisced with a few more staffers.

"Loved your book," one of them said.

"It is so weird returning here as an 'author'," John joked. "I remember one time I was on with Bob Sirott and the segment before ours was about the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or something like that, and I said to Bob, 'What in the world are we doing here?'"

When Phil arrived I was taken upstairs to a viewing room. They turned on the big screen for me so I could watch the interview on television, but I could also see them through a darkened window.

I thought the show went very well. You can see it below...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

More Praise for "Life Behind the Camera"

Nancy Loo is a reporter for WGN-TV and a blogger for She's got quite a following there as "Big Tiny World". Yesterday's piece was about our newest author and book, Chuck Quinzio and "Life Behind the Camera". Here's a short excerpt...

Veteran Chicago cameraman Chuck Quinzio is among those who only refer to me as Big Tiny. Actually, he just calls me Tiny and many Chicago journalists know him as Q. We worked together for nearly a decade at my former station. I still get to see him from time to time nowadays when we’re on the same assignments. And whenever I run into him, I’ll hear his usual greeting of, “Tiny! How the f*@# are you?”

Chuck has few conversations without F-bombs. Many of our colleagues are now dropping them because Q is about to become a published author. When Q sent me an advanced copy of “Life Behind The Camera” (available now for pre-order), I feared I wouldn’t have the time to read or write about it before publication. Well f*@# if I didn’t finish it in one sitting while on a flight from San Francisco to Chicago earlier this month! The writing is crisp and I enjoyed every chapter, many of them quite funny.

“Life Behind The Camera” is a compelling book which chronicles Chuck’s path from Catholic altar boy to f-bomb spewing hotshot cameraman in one of the nation’s biggest TV markets. Although names are changed, I was able to figure out a couple of the people mentioned. (Big Tiny is not in the book, thank goodness!) This book is entertaining whether or not you’re familiar with the Chicago news scene.

Anyone with an interest in TV news can practically picture the pompous reporters and managers Q mentions in his book. There are similar types in every newsroom I’ve worked in. Q’s descriptions of crime scenes and newsroom situations are spot on. I especially enjoyed his adventure with Harry Caray during a Cubs playoff run in the 80′s. Yes, it involves Budweiser.

To read the entire review, click here.

Pre-order your copy of "Life Behind the Camera" today!

Life Behind the Camera

The most exciting part of being a publisher is sharing that first moment the author sees his new book. My co-publisher David Stern and our newest author, Chuck Quinzio, hold the first hot-off-the-press copy of "Life Behind the Camera" (available for pre-order now at Eckhartz Press

Mind Games

Released on this day, 40 years ago...

Dexter Manley

Former Washington Redskins lineman Dexter Manley had finally successfully rehabilitated himself. His football career ended years ago after a series of drug offenses. He was banned for life by the league. About seven years ago he collapsed after an all-night party, and had to have brain surgery. But he had recently gotten on the radio on WTOP, the highest rated show on the dial in Washington, as a football commentator. Then this happened. From Radio Ink...

Former Washington Redskins defensive end Dexter Manley went on WTOP and alleged Fox broadcaster and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman was gay. Manley said, "I think Troy was a queer." Manley backed off a bit after being challenged by WTOP news anchors Mike Moss and Bruce Alan. "I'm sorry about that," Manley said. "I take that back. . . . I apologize." WTOP VP/News and Programming Jim Farley said that Manley will no longer being appearing on WTOP.

Chicago Radio Ratings

The latest Chicago radio ratings news, comes from Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Urban AC “V103” WVAZ, celebrating its 25th anniversary, has claimed 17 of the last 18 books in the Windy City. It moves 6.7-6.2-6.5. Second place goes to CBS all-news AM/FM simulcast WBBM, with a major 4.9-5.4-6.2 move. That’s its highest standing since October 2011. Hubbard’s hot AC “Mix” WTMX is third, 5.0-5.2-5.2. No wonder Tribune’s talk WGN wants a better deal out of the baseball Cubs – there was no kick this season, 4.6-4.0-4.0. Cume dropped from 778,600 in August to 727,800 in September and 699,100 in October. Hubbard’s classic hits “Drive” WDRV is up 3.6-3.8-4.1. But not Merlin Media’s classic rock “Loop” – drifting down 3.7-4.0-3.4-3.0-2.6-2.5 in the last six books. Cumulus talk WLS is up, 1.7-1.9-2.3. Cume leader is Clear Channel CHR “Kiss” WKSC at 2.25 million. In AQH share rank, Kiss ties WGN in seventh place with a 4.0.

Joke for a Tuesday Morning

This one comes courtesy of "MS", a gentleman in his 60s.

You should see my new neighbor. She's young and beautiful and single...and lives right across the street. I can see her house from my living room.

I watched as she got home from work this evening. I was surprised when she walked across the street in the rain and up my driveway. She knocked on my door...I rushed to open it.

She looked at me, and said, "I just got home, and I am so horny! I have this strong urge to have a good time, get drunk, and have sex all night long! Are you busy tonight?"

I immediately replied, "Nope, I'm free... I have no plans at all!"

Then she said, "Good! In that case, could you look after my dog?"

Monday, October 28, 2013

Be True To Your School

As an Illinois grad (class of 86), I'm not true to my school when they get blown out 42-3 during homecoming weekend, but I still get the message of this Beach Boys classic recorded 50 years ago today. From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac...

October 28, 1963…The Beach Boys released the single "Be True To Your School." They recorded two studio versions of this song. The original recording, which appeared on their "Little Deuce Coupe" album, was in a higher key and at a slower tempo than the second version, recorded later that week, which was released as a single. The second version features the Honeys doing various "cheerleader yells" before the first chorus, and after the second and third. Marilyn Rovell of the Honeys later became Beach Boy Brian Wilson's first wife and is the mother of Carnie and Wendy Wilson of Wilson Phillips.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Karis Hustad ‏@karishustad 55s
Pinterest valued at $3.8b, Fab at $1b, Snapchat $3.5b. What else do they have in common? Not a drop of revenue … #tech

Robert Loerzel ‏@robertloerzel 6m
NYT obit for Lou Reed:

Dave Martin ‏@martindave 7m
ICYMI: Lou Reed Expanded Boundaries of Rock Music. By Christopher Morris

Matt Spiegel ‏@MattSpiegel670 9m
For the many asking, Mac is physically fine. And this is not a repeat of a prior event. He'll update you when he wants to. Not my place.

USA TODAY Life ‏@usatodaylife 12m
Found! The mysterious Beatles fans that Ringo Starr took a photo of nearly 50 years ago have been identified:

steve rosenbloom ‏@steverosenbloom 21m
TV Spoiler Alert: The Packers look like the best offense the Bears won't tackle this season. The RosenBlog:

MLB Public Relations ‏@MLB_PR 32m
#WorldSeries Game 4 overnight rating = 10.5. Best of Series to date, best non-clinching Game 4 since 2009.

Taegan Goddard ‏@politicalwire 35m
David Ortiz's inspiration for his dugout pep talk during the World Series last night? Bill Clinton

Pope Francis ‏@Pontifex 39m
We are all sinners. But God heals us with an abundance of grace, mercy and tenderness.

Romenesko ‏@romenesko 53m
Politico's culture explained in a memo. ("This place isn't for everyone," says Jim VandeHei.)

Happy Halloween

Thank you "JM" for this one...

RIP Marcia Wallace

Marcia Wallace was Bob Newhart's secretary Carol in the old Chicago-based Newhart show from the 1970s, but she was also the voice of Edna Krabapple on the Simpsons. She passed away yesterday at the age of 70. She had been battling breast cancer for years, although it's unclear if that was the cause of her death.

CNN To Challenge Stewart/Colbert

CNN is supposedly developing a comedy show for their 11pm eastern/10pm central timeslot to go up against the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. The host of the show, according to the New York Post, would be former Chicago television anchor/and recent Nightline anchor Bill Weir.

Bill is funny...but he isn't exactly a comedian. I smell a trainwreck.

Hollywood Drama

I suppose the way this Nikke Finke/Deadline Hollywood story is playing out is only fitting. It's a standard Hollywood melodrama.

If you can conjure up any interest at all, the details are here.

The shorthand version is that she is trying to leave the company she founded (and sold), and it's getting ugly.

John McVie

Some sad news for Fleetwood Mac fans. From today's RAMP Newsletter...

Fleetwood Mac has canceled their upcoming tour dates in Australia and New Zealand, announcing yesterday that co-founding member John McVie is battling cancer. A statement posted on the band's official Facebook page read, "Fleetwood Mac, who has just completed the European leg of their phenomenally successful worldwide tour has announced the cancellation of their upcoming 14-date tour of Australia and New Zealand. John McVie, one of the co founding and original members of Fleetwood Mac is now scheduled to be in treatment for cancer during that period of time." The statement concluded with, "We are sorry to not be able to play these Australian and New Zealand dates. We hope our Australian and New Zealand fans as well as Fleetwood Mac fans everywhere will join us in wishing John and his family all the best." There were no further details about the severity of McVie's illness, and the status of the band's Dec. 30 Las Vegas show remains up in the air.

RIP Lou Reed

This was a shocker to me. I hadn't even heard he was sick. Lou Reed was 71 years old.

I was never a huge fan of his Velvet Underground material, which I realize is blasphemous to say in the rock and roll world. I was, however, a big fan of his solo material. He will probably be most remembered for this one...

Ricketts in Politics

One of the board members of the Chicago Cubs, Todd Ricketts, has apparently become a big-wig in Republican politics. The Chicago Sun Times has the story.

This isn't the first time a Cubs shareholder has become active in Republican politics. In the 1920s, Harry Sinclair was a minority shareholder of the Cubs (photo), and a major contributor to the campaign coffers of Warren G. Harding. Todd should take note. It didn't turn out so well for Harry or the Cubs. He was one of the major players in the biggest political scandal of the time; the Teapot Dome Scandal.