Friday, January 10, 2014

Donald Fagen

America's least likely rock star Donald Fagen is 66 years old today. Still love Stealy Dan...

Icicle House

If you don't hear from me for awhile, please send someone over to my deck to make sure I didn't get punctured by one of these monsters. Other houses on my street have them three or four times this size...

Today's Best Tweets--January 10

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

dailyherald ‏@dailyherald 36s
Target: Data breach caught up to 70M customers

Dan Gillmor ‏@dangillmor 4m
Hey Target, please stop calling your customers "guests" -- I don't make my guests pay for dinner, and I don't ask for their credit cards.

Roz Varon ‏@rozvaronABC7 2m
New: Large sink hole reported at Pratt and California! Streets and San requested!!

Scott Smith ‏@ourmaninchicago 14m
Want to get people to stop talking about side streets filled with snow? Easy! Start talking about April's potholes. …

MLB ‏@MLB 3m
Happy 76th birthday to @BaseballHall member and @SFGiants icon Willie McCovey.

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 13m
Breakup texts are the worst, but this one is pretty amazing (PHOTO)

Chet Coppock ‏@ChetCoppock 35m
What? #DePaul beat #Butler. don't tell me the Blue demons actually have a pulse... biggest demon win since Joe Meyer years

Illinois Entertainer ‏@ie_entertainer 3m
Chicago label Vee Jay released 1st Beatles US album 50 Years ago today RT@BeatlesTimeline: 'Introducing The Beatles'”

NickBaumann ‏@NickBaumann 8m
.@wsjsports counted how many times Belichick smiled this season. The answer: seven.

Los Angeles Times ‏@latimes 11m
Columnist @robinabcarian: Meryl Streep is right about Walt Disney. He was bigoted. So what?

What is Scarier, Dogs or Cats?

If you ask dogs, the answer is obvious...

Just One Bad Century--January 10

On today's JOBC Cubs Almanac: A tragic tale, a baseball card from 1979, Lefty, A cup of coffee from the 20s, and John ("They make money the old fashioned way, they earrrrrrn it") Houseman was a Cub? Might be another John Houseman.

Check it out here.

Media Spotlight--January 10

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, and show business. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.) And, of course, I'll also keep tabs on Chicago's media.

Chicago media

~Greg Brown
I'm finishing up my latest column for Illinois Entertainer today. I interviewed WLS-FM's Greg Brown this week. It will be posted on the Illinois Entertainer site on February 1st.

~Afternoons Open At US-99
The former afternoon host at US-99, Drew Walker, has been promoted to middays, according to Radio Daily today. (Promoted? I guess drive times aren't what they used to be) Here's what they say..."
CBS Radio's Country WUSN (US99.5)/Chicago afternoon talent Drew Walker heads to middays replacing Trish Biondo, who left the station last week after failing to reach a new contract. Walker, who has been with WUSN since 2004, made the move to PM drive in 2005. "In an effort to keep the continuity from mornings to middays the best it can be for our audience, I am very excited to announce the promotion of Drew Walker to middays," said US99.5 PD Jeff Kapugi.

~Boers & Bernstein Soundboard
Many of the drop-ins (sound clips) you hear on the Boers & Berstein show on the Score have been posted on the CBS website. It's a treasure trove.

~Dobie Maxwell
The former Loop morning man is planning a benefit comedy show to help a friend who suffered a stroke. The date hasn't been set yet, but Dobie writes about it in his blog.

Broadcast News

~Has Jeff Zucker made CNN Better?
He's been there a year now, so the New Yorker analyzes the moves he has made. You can read their analysis at the link. As for me, I still can't watch it regularly. It's just the same news story over and over and over again. More than one story happens a day, ladies and gentlemen. It doesn't matter who delivers the news if you're only telling us about one story.


~Dick Clark Productions Doing 14 Awards Shows This Year
Don't laugh. Award shows are gold because people feel like they have to watch them live. (No fast forwarding through commercials)

The Publishing Biz

~Amazon selling kindles in airport and shopping mall kiosks now
It's just a matter of time until they squash their competitors like grapes.

~Stick a Fork in Barnes & Noble
If they make it through this year I will be shocked. Holiday sales were down 60% this year. (I have a funny feeling we're never going to get the money they owe Eckhartz Press)

~"Mein Kampf" becoming big seller as e-book
Somebody translated that into English? It didn't even make sense in German.

The Radio Biz

~Political Ad Buys Not What You Think They'll Be
Whenever there's political discord in this country, politically-oriented talk radio shows assume they'll be getting some dough because of political advertising. But if you're the political parties, why would you advertise when the radio hosts talk about your message for free? From today's Washington Post...
While the RNC wouldn't disclose how much money they spent on the radio ads, reports from local news organizations suggested it wasn't much. At all. In New Hampshire, the ads "savaging" Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) had $20 dollars behind them. Yes, $20. Not $2,000. Or $20,000. In Alaska, a single ad -- at the cost of $30! -- ran against Sen. Mark Begich (D), according to the Anchorage Daily News.

NBA Drops Travelling Call

Just make it official, NBA. Anyone making over five million a year can't be called for travelling...

How to Name Your Band

Thanks "KW" for this...

My band name is Black Salami.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Novelist's Ex In Bizarre Handgun Threat Arrest

You'll never believe where she was hiding the gun.

It doesn't sound physically possible to me, but what do I know? I don't have the hiding location in question.

How Baseball Writers Handled the Steroids Crisis While It Was Happening

I've never really read about this steroids mess from this angle before. I thought it was really interesting. This quote from the piece gives you a good idea of what follows:
"For baseball writers, this period is when innocence was lost, when their jobs changed forever. The Hall of Fame vote is not some new expression of professional grief. It is an echo."

Fan Spends 30 Grand To Transform Home Into Star Trek Tribute

Here's the article, complete with pictures. The most shocking thing about this isn't that someone is that big of a Star Trek fan, or that it cost $30,000. The most shocking thing about this is the gender of the fan.

She's a girl.

Jimmy Page

The lead guitarist of Led Zeppelin is 70 years old today. I saw Zeppelin in Ludwigshafen Germany on their last tour, just before we moved to the United States. He was so wasted he had to lean against an amp the entire concert, but he never missed a note.

My favorite song of his is "Kashmir". Here he and the Edge discuss the origin of that song...

Today's Best Tweets--January 9

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

steve rosenbloom ‏@steverosenbloom 1m
Even at $54 million guaranteed, why George McCaskey should love Jay Cutler's jackpot. The RosenBlog:

darren rovell ‏@darrenrovell 49m
Classic Pic: Wrigley Rooftops before the big business rolled in (H/T @BBartilotta, @ChicagoPhotoSho)

Ben Blatt ‏@BenBlatt 15m
The man, the myth, the Wikipenis …

On The Metra ‏@OnTheMetra 37m
Metra is the modern Oregon Trail w/ major delays, break downs & no clue if we'll actually make it. Sucks we don't get to hunt bison though.

The Onion ‏@TheOnion 28m
In Focus: Coworker Even A Dick In His Expense Reports

Karis Hustad ‏@karishustad 30m
"Saint Paul is bitterly cold, but not too frigid for romance" -@usatoday whispering sweet nothings to MN ears

Comcast SportsNet ‏@CSNChicago 40m
The Big Hurt's big moment: Check out @ChuckGarfien's story on Frank Thomas' emotions during HOF election yesterday -

Bob Nightengale ‏@BNightengale 44m
We were cheated out of seeing some real historic numbers from Greg Maddux and newest Hall of Fame class.

ClassicPics ‏@History_Pics 1h
7 years ago today, Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone, revolutionizing the smartphone industry

Rob Hart ‏@RobHart1980 4m
Something to consider if there is a "Sex and the City 3" - Kim Cattrall is 57. Rue McLanahan was 51 when Golden Girls premiered in 1985.

Just One Bad Century--January 9

Today's JOBC Cubs Almanac features 1/2 of the players the Cubs got in return for Rick Monday, a baseball card from 1978, a man named Tarzan, and a great video from the 1977 season.

Check it out here.

Media Spotlight--January 9

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, and show business. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.) And, of course, I'll also keep tabs on Chicago's media.

Chicago Media...

~101 changing back to alternative rock.
From the RAMP Newsletter this morning:
RAMP has confirmed that Cumulus indeed plans to return the Alternative format to the 101.1 frequency in Chicago tomorrow at 9am. Last Friday Cumulus announced it had taken over the operations of Merlin Media's WLUP (97.9 The Loop) and WIQI (i101)/Chicago. Look for the Alternative format to simulcast on both 101.1 and its current home on Q87.7 for at least 30-45 days. Stand by for further details.

~Brian Middleton Out As Afternoon Jock
From Radio Daily this morning. I was suprrised to see this. (I just interviewed Cara for my Illinois Entertainer column a few weeks ago. You can read that here.)
WILV-FM (Rewind 100.3)/Chicago afternoon personality Brian Middleton comes off of afternoons, but will remain with the Hubbard Adult Hits outlet as a parttime/fill-in talent. Night personality Cara Carriveau moves into PM drive until a new host is hired. Middleton moved into WILV PM drive back in April, 2012.

~Linda Yu injured in a motorcycle accident
Robert Feder has the details at the link. It sounds like she's on the mend--hope she gets better soon. I talked to her just before she left on that vacation and she gave me this great blurb for Joel Daly's book, which is coming out at the end of this month on Eckhartz Press: "You may have trusted him for years as he brought you the news. You may have been entertained when you heard him yodel. You may have thrilled to his Renaissance man exploits as world traveler, pilot, actor and lawyer. Read this book to find out why he became ALL those things ...and why Joel Daly is my Dad."

~Memories of the Limelight
Tony Fitzpatrick's latest article about the Limelight is spot on. I went there twice and thought it was the creepiest place imaginable. Its what I think of when I watch the SNL bit starring "Stephon"

The Moguls...

~The Hollywood Reporter interviews Sumner Redstone
He's 90 years old now, so I guess it's time to get serious about succession plans. Right? Here's what he says: "I will not discuss succession. You know why? I'm not gonna die. So why should I discuss succession?" I just love reading about this guy. He's as close to a real-life cartoon as possible (positively Trumpian). He watches his stocks "second by second". He thinks Rupert did the right thing by dumping his wife. He snaps at the interviewer like he's talking to an employee. He won't agree that his girlfriend is beautiful. You gotta read it.

~Roger Ailes fights back
The Hollywood Reporter interviewed Ailes too. He's in full-on damage-control mode, and yet, he still can't help himself. This quote shows what kind of a person he is..."Look at those six screens. I always bring my producers in and say: "Turn away from there. Now look back and tell me where your eye goes." They tell me. If it doesn't go to my screen, that's how you're going to get fired."

The Late Night Comedians...

~Jon Stewart takes down Bill O'Reilly
This is hilarious. O'Reilly sounds a thousand years old when he talks about pot and texting.

~SNL also hires two black female writers
They apparently have heard the outrage loud and clear. I'd like to point out that they don't have any Germans on staff. Just sayin'. Who is there to speak for the hilarious Germans out there?

The Pundits...

~Ezra Klein is leaving the Washington Post
This isn't a new story, but I mention it here to note that it appears he will be becoming a full-time pundit soon. I think he's pretty good at explaining complex stories, but he does come off a touch condescending.

Broadcast News...

~Changes in the MSNBC lineup
Alex Wagner is replacing Martin Bashir. Rotating hosts are replacing Alex Wagner. (Alex Wagner is a girl, by the way.)

Is Someone Selling Dibs Chairs on Craig's List?

That's what this article claims.

I suspect it's actually a joke, but it's a good one.

Another Good Greg Maddux Story

Deadspin has a Maddux story from his Cubs days that I've never heard before. Mark Grace tells it at the end of the piece.

It involves what really excites Greg Maddux. That's all I'm going to say about it.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Greg Maddux is in the Hall of Fame

He was elected along with Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. Craig Biggio missed it by one or two votes. NBC has the details.

Also, this an awesome article about the scouting of Greg Maddux

Great to see that this cheesy mustache wasn't enough to keep him out.

David Bowie

It's his birthday today too. Bowie is 67 today. This one is still my favorite Bowie song...

Today's Best Tweets--January 8

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

Karis Hustad ‏@karishustad 6m
@nytimes re-design looks real slick, though ironically more like a real newspaper than previous site designs

Steve Cochran ‏@CochranShow 7m
Coach Q says he isn't worried about the 10 #Blackhawks going to the Olympics, but getting rest will be important.

Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 9m
Maddux is 1 of 4 who will get into HOF today, according to Baseball Think Factory poll via @wordpressdotcom #Cubs

Bob Nightengale ‏@BNightengale 22m
Here's my Hall of Fame ballot, and why I vote for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. and others with ties to PEDs.

Matt Spiegel ‏@MattSpiegel670 24m
ICYMI,the best read on the HOF ballot this year. His Bonds/Clemens reasoning alone is worth the click. From @RattoCSN …

NBC News ‏@NBCNews 9m
What's it like to jump on a frozen trampoline? See that and other crazy weather videos

The Associated Press ‏@AP 11m
Private survey shows U.S. businesses added most jobs in a year in December, powered by a gain in construction jobs:

Michael Ian Black ‏@michaelianblack 12m
Somehow, the Whitesnake song "Here I Go Again" is coming from upstairs in my house. My wife is up there. I DON'T KNOW HER AT ALL!!!

NPR News ‏@nprnews 16m
Hell Has Frozen Over, Headline Writers Rejoice

Jim Gaffigan ‏@JimGaffigan 20m
How I rationalize eating fried chicken and waffles. "I know it's lunch but I'd like breakfast and a heart attack."

Just One Bad Century--January 8

A Hall of Famer, Elvis comes to town, Twitch, a tragic lightning strike, and more today at the JOBC Cubs Almanac.

You can read it here.

Media Spotlight--January 8

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, and show business. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.) And, of course, I'll also keep tabs on Chicago's media.

~Chicago Media...

Pete McMurray and their crew talk about their old radio internships.
Love these old Chicago radio stories.

Smooth Jazz back in Chicago radio
WTMX is broadcasting it now on it's HD2 channel, if you're a fan of that music.

~The Moguls...

Roger Ailes offered employee a raise if she had sex wih him
That's one of the revelations in the new book about him. I told you this book was going to be a good one. And by the way, this happened when he worked at NBC, not Fox.

The New York Times reviews the Roger Ailes book
It's not really a full-fledged review, it's more of a book summary. Here's my favorite part:
At Fox News, the book says, Mr. Ailes was disdainful of even his most bankable on-air talent, privately calling Bill O’Reilly “a book salesman with a TV show” and Brian Kilmeade, a peppy Fox host, “a soccer coach from Long Island.”

~Broadcast News...

Jimmy Kimmel rips LA TV news
Great clip of Los Angeles newscasters bitching about the "cold".

NBC Prepared for the Worst at Sochi
This year's Olympic Games have the added potential of security issues...
“Although obviously we have our fingers crossed that nothing happens, if anything the prospect of a terrorist event, the controversy of the anti-gay laws, those things in an odd way have increased awareness and interest in those games,” NBC’s chief Olympics anchor Bob Costas told reporters Tuesday.

Diane Sawyer in Ladies Home Journal
You wouldn't expect an article in Ladie's Home Journal to break news, but in this piece, Sawyer talks about her potential retirement.

~The Pundits...

Dennis Miller story about meeting Frank Sinatra
It's nice to hear Dennis when he's not talking about politics. He can still be funny.

~Show Biz...

Honey Boo-Boo's family injured in a car crash
I've never seen the show, but I know some of you are obsessed.

Laughing Elvis

Today is Elvis' 79th birthday. We used to play this song on his birthday every year on Steve & Garry's show...

Frozen Chicago

These are pretty cool shots of frozen Chicago on the Huffington Post.

I have to give credit to the photographers who braved the cold to take them.

Here are some more.

This is how cold it is...

The polar bears at Lincoln Park Zoo had to be moved back inside. I kid you not.

Or this...

Kentucky inmate escapes, gets too cold, turns himself back in

That's how cold it has been. Looking forward to the balmy single digits forecast for today.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Hoochie Coochie Man

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac, this little tidbit from 60 years ago today. I had no idea this was the origin of this famous Chicago blues song...

January 7, 1954…In Chicago, Muddy Waters recorded "Hoochie Coochie Man." The Hoochie Coochie was a sexually provocative dance that became wildly popular during and after the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. Since the dance was performed by women, a "hoochie coochie man" either watched them or ran the show.

Here's Muddy singing the song...(it cuts off right at the end)

The Pothole Store

Part of the JOBC media empire (along with Eckhartz Press and Just One Bad Century) is the pothole store. Yes, we sell pot(hole). Don't laugh, it's getting tons of hits, and we're actually selling pothole related merchandise.

But I've been getting an even bigger kick out of the pothole store blog. I'm not writing it, my business partner (and potholestore creator) Dave is. And he's a very funny man. Among his latest blog posts...

Green Bay To Host Darwin Awards, Live Broadcast On Fox

Mrs. Superdawg Files For Divorce From Mr. Superdawg, Calls Him A Self Absorbed Poser

Chicago Bears Sign Jay Cutler To Seven Year Contract, Only Gives His Condescending Smirk Three

Santa Disregards Parking Payboxes, Owes Chicago $123,890.98

Check it out here, if you're interested. And have a pothole named after yourself while you're there.

Grammar Joke

I love grammar jokes. Thanks "MC" for sending this one to me...

Today's Best Tweets--January 7

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

Jim O'Donnell ‏@jodonnell17 2m
What it was really like at the Algonquin Round Table,0,5654937.story …

Los Angeles Times ‏@latimes 8m
Hong Kong movie mogul Run Run Shaw, who popularized kung fu films, dies at 106.

lindsey vonn ‏@lindseyvonn 1h
I am devastated to announce that I will not be competing in Sochi. My FB page has the whole story.

Brian Hedger ‏@BrianHedger 18m
#Blackhawks Olympians so far: Kane (U.S), Hossa & Handzus (SVK), Rozsival (CZK), Hjalmarsson, Oduya, Kruger (SWE)

Breaking News ‏@BreakingNews 21m
JPMorgan Chase agrees to pay $1.7 billion to victims of Bernie Madoff fraud to settle federal claims - @BloombergTV, @AP

steve rosenbloom ‏@steverosenbloom 25m
Deng traded for nothing good now, so this is a great day for the 'We're Not Going To Tank' Bandwagon. The RosenBlog:

Art Quoter ‏@artquoter 33m
I see more and more that my work goes infinitely better when I am properly fed, and the paints are there, and the studio - Vincent van Gogh

Gawker ‏@Gawker 43m
Workers at tire factory slated for closure take bosses hostage and demand "enormous amounts of money" because #YOLO

Roseanne Tellez ‏@roseannetellez 10h
Sure sign of bad winter: Reacting to pics of beautiful ski resort @cbschicagorob says: "that looks hideous!" Love it. Nuff already!

Jim Gaffigan ‏@JimGaffigan 9m
Just googled pictures of cheese steaks because it’s almost 10 in the morning.

Just One Bad Century--January 7

On today's JOBC Cubs Almanac--A crazy play from the 50s, a baseball card from last year, a man named Kitty, a cup of coffee from the 60s, and a sweet swing that could only hit fastballs.

You can read it here.

National Media Spotlight--January 7

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the national media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, and show business. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.)

The pundits...

~Apple & Amazon downgraded for moral reasons
Wow. I'm not kidding about this headline, this actually happened on CNBC. That's right, CNBC. You have to see it to believe it. Click on the link. This is an analyst who used to work at Merrill Lynch saying this.

Show biz...

~SNL gets a black female cast member
Responding to a controversy that they were excluding black females, SNL buckles and hires one.

Broadcast news...

~The story that never dies: Is Ann Curry leaving NBC News?
The latest, according to the Wrap, is that she is staying. I'm sure there will be a story later this week that says the opposite.

~This is pretty funny. In last night's BCS game's opening moments, Brent Musberger got his own name wrong. (Full disclosure: I've done this myself. It's embarrassing.)

The Radio biz...

~Tom Taylor's column today points out something that would worry me if I were still in local radio. Pandora's CEO Mike Herring says “it’s taken us seven years” to build partnerships with the carmakers, but Pandora is now in “nine of the top ten top-selling cars in the U.S.” You can make fun of the way they self-report their listening numbers, but inside the car is one place radio always had a monopoloy. Not so much anymore.

~The radio voice of the San Diego Padres, Jerry Coleman, has died. He played on the Yankees with Joe Dimaggio, and broadcast the Padres games for forty years. His radio station in San Diego did a nice tribute to him, if you'd like to listen to it

This is how cold it is...

Thanks to "LB" for sending me this...

This is how cold it is...

Water bottle freezes before your eyes...

This is how cold it is...

Boiling hot water turns into snow immediately. This is a meteorologist in Wisconsin...

What's your Blues Name?

Mine is "Sleepy Fingers Smith", which actually sounds about right. Thanks "SA" for sending me this...

Monday, January 06, 2014

It was worse in 1979

Check out this coverage of our nasty weather in 1979. This is the storm that cost Michael Bilandic his job. posted it. (Great website, by the way)

Dibs Season

The Chicago Tribune has some great pictures of Chicago residents using whatever they have in their homes (chairs, cones, etc) to get dibs on their cherished parking spots.

Check them out here.

Just One Bad Century--January 6

Today on the JOBC-Cubs Almanac...

A featured Cub from the 20s and 30s, a baseball card from 1958, and the audio of a lazy summer day radio broadcast from 1957 of a Cubs-Brooklyn game. The announcer is Vin Scully. It sucked me in for over an hour. Scully is amazing.

Today's Best Tweets--January 6

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

Funny Or Die ‏@funnyordie 2m
Getting back to work today is tough, so here's a parrot racing a dog up a flight of stairs:

The AV Club ‏@TheAVClub 3m
Remembering Phil Everly: 12 Essential Everly Brothers Tracks via @RollingStone

MancowMuller ‏@MancowMuller 4m
A lot of NFL players froze over the weekend. Except for the Kansas City Chiefs. They choked.

Ismael Estrada ‏@IshEstradaCNN 1h
How about a little "Jack Flash" to start your morning? Bringing you weed stories all week @randikayeCNN #CNN #ac360

College GameDay ‏@CollegeGameDay 46m
The state of Alabama is seeking a fifth straight national title. #BCS

Chet Coppock ‏@ChetCoppock 19m
Tonight's #BCS Championship Game Preview...

Talking Points Memo ‏@TPM 9m
GOP Senate candidate wants to move U.S. capitol to Nebraska:

Art Institute ‏@artinstitutechi 14m
The Art Institute is open! Beat the #coldweather and cozy up to some great art.

Ben Jacobs ‏@Bencjacobs 16m
Great piece by Jake Siegel on the demolition of a tavern where George Washington drank in NYC

We want your cold weather stories. Go to our @SoundCloud page and click upload and start new recording.

National Media Spotlight--January 6

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the national media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, and Hollywood. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.

The moguls...

~Rupert sells his yacht.
Whew. I was getting worried he wouldn't find a buyer. He sold it for $29.7 million. I wonder if his ex-wife Wendy gets part of that money.

~New Roger Ailes book coming out on Random House
Anticipating that Fox News and the conservative echo chamber will trash it, Random House has created a website to counteract the misinformation. This will be a fun story to watch.

~Equador Navy Airlifts Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
He had a kidney stone. I'm sure they would have done the same for you or me.

The pundits...

~David Brooks smoked pot?
He admitted it in a column over the weekend, as did Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus. Let's be honest here, Baby Boomers. Is there really a significant portion of our generation that NEVER sampled it? I think not, so let's stop pretending that we're shocked please. By the way, it's legal in Illinois now...for medicinal purposes.

TV News...

NBC posts a video for Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show
The hype machine is just beginning. His first show will be February 17th. Hopefully this goes better than the whole Conan thing did.

More changes coming to CNN primetime lineup
It feels like I'm writing that headline every other day now, but here's the Jeff Zucker quote: "It's safe to say 2014 will be the year we shake up prime time."

Shovel It, Boys!

The boys are home from school today because of the extreme temperatures. They haven't quite had the type of winter break they were hoping for because of all this snow. I've been putting them to work. We've got it down to a science now. All four of us head out to shovel and can get even a heavy snowfall taken care of in less than an hour.

We've even gone over to my mom's to take care of her driveway, and while the grumbling is always present, they do the job (for the most part) without too much complaining.

Baseball Hall of Fame

This year's electees will be announced on Wednesday. MLB sent me a press release. Here's the pertinent info for those of you with the MLB channel...

The results of the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot will be announced exclusively on MLB Network and simulcast on on Wednesday, January 8 live at 2:00 p.m. ET. The announcement will be part of a three-hour live show beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET anchored by MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger, Brian Kenny and Heidi Watney, and including the first interviews with any electees immediately following the announcement, plus analysis from Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds, John Smoltz, Hall of Fame award-winning baseball writer Peter Gammons and Hall of Fame voters Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal, Joel Sherman and Tom Verducci, and segments analyzing the ballot from a sabermetric perspective.

Expect Greg Maddux to hear his name called. We'll see if his former teammate Tom Glavine gets the call too. I suspect Craig Biggio also has a shot.

RIP Phil Everly

Sad news on Friday. Phil Everly, half of the Everly Brothers, passed away at the age of 74. The Los Angeles Times has the obit. The Everly Brothers were among the first ten groups inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and there's a good reason for that. They were incredibly influential to an entire generation of musicians and fans. Just ask Simon & Garfunkel. Or Paul McCartney. Or Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

This one is their biggest hit...

The Cumulus/Merlin Deal

This week it was reported that Merlin Media's Chicago radio stations (including the Loop) were going to be purchased by Cumulus (owner of WLS AM/FM in Chicago in addition to hundreds of other stations nationwide). According to Tom Taylor's column today, it's a little more complicated than that.

See if you can follow along...

First, this isn’t a sale, at least not yet. Cumulus says it’s “taken over operations of two Chicago stations through an LMA with option to buy WLUP (97.9 the Loop) and WIQI (101.1), as well as the alternative rock format currently on WKQX-LP (87.7).” So let’s unpack the various stories nested inside the bare facts – because there’s enough drama to keep a “Downton Abbey” fan occupied, including a disappointed suitor. The Chicago Tribune says this is a “four-year local marketing agreement, with a firm option to buy the stations.” Cumulus could exercise its option as soon as next year, and CEO Lew Dickey tells Crain’s Chicago Business that “We’re not in the business of renting things.” Though the LMA is a prudent strategy for now. Cumulus can conserve cash by paying just a monthly fee, which might be credited against the eventual purchase price. In return, it gets the revenue it generates from classic rock “Loop” WLUP and from restoring the alternative rock format to 101.1.

The first thing I thought about when I heard this news was that this put a bit of a crimp in WGN's plans to buy an FM, which GM Jim de Castro has said publicly that he wants to do. (They still have to sell the Chicago Tribune in order for that to happen, but that's another story). Tom Taylor addresses that part of the story too...

Jimmy de Castro’s now running WGN and he once managed The Loop (97.9). But the Cumulus LMA-with purchase option means the Merlin stations are out of circulation. Knowing de Castro – there’s a Plan B. And a Plan C.

I just hope that Cumulus doesn't gut the staffs of the Loop and 101 once they take over. I still have friends working there.

Writing Update

At the end of last year, I made a couple of big decisions regarding my writing future. My company Eckhartz Press is going very well. So well, in fact, that something had to give in my ridiculously busy schedule. So, after ten years of working as a free-lance writer and contributing editor for Shore Magazine and it's related titles, I stepped down at the end of the year. I may do an occasional piece for them in the future, but I will no longer be a regular columnist. They have given me permission to release the best of those columns, repackaged in some way, into a book. I'll be working on that project all year, and it will be coming out for the Christmas season 2014 as "Father Knows Nothing". (Naturally on the Eckhartz Press label). I'm super excited about that one. I'll keep you informed about my progress periodically here, and I'll also write an occasional "Father Knows Nothing" column here as well.

My only free-lance writing gig for now is my media column at the Illinois Entertainer. I intend on continuing that, at least through this year. In fact, my latest column about Cara Carriveau was posted over my holiday break. You can read it here. I'm interviewing next month's subject tomorrow. Stay tuned.

I'm also in the process of revamping and relaunching my other writing projects, including this blog. For the time being it will continue to be posted here, but by the end of the year it will migrate elsewhere, as the centerpiece of united Rick Kaempfer site, including all my media reporting, my original pieces, and more. I'll give you plenty of warning about that.

Just One Bad Century is getting an overhaul too. I've been working dilligently on revamping it, and it will be ready to go by spring training this year. I'm even heading down to Arizona for that relaunch. Details to come. In the meantime, check out the new JOBC Cubs Alamanac. It's an expanded daily blog featuring all the information I have written about a given day in Cubs history, plus a ton of new stuff. I've been researching it for months, and have more than 800 pages of new material to share this year.

So that's what's been going on with me.

Hope everyone had a great holiday break.


I'm back in the blogging saddle again. I like starting off the new year with a temperature of -14 degrees. Makes me heartier.