Friday, February 21, 2014

The Easiest Cold Hard Cash You'll Ever Make

When you read the details of our Just One Bad Century contest, you’ll probably think we’re crazy to make winning money this easy. Guilty as charged, your honor.

Go to our contest page here, and then just wait for the money to flow. How much money? See if you can wrap your head around a number this big: Nineteen hundred and eight dollars. Cash.

All you have to do is predict two very simple things: the exact date and the winning pitcher’s name of the next World Series clinching Chicago Cubs victory.

First come, first serve. There will only be one winner. For instance, Greg Maddux III is already taken. So is the after-the-nuclear-apocalyspe-star 12-finger Mordecai Brown. Also, please be specific about the dates. We will not accept: “Cold Day in Hell” as a generic entry. You still need to tell us the month, date, and year it will be a cold day in Hell, because once it gets cold there, it will probably remain cold. Be specific.

We’ll occasionally post some of the entries to help you.

Good luck, and may the best person win.

Today's Best Tweets--February 21

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

Adam Hoge ‏@AdamHoge 30m
Need to catch up on yesterday’s #Bears press conferences? Here’s everything you need to know:

Deadspin ‏@Deadspin 22m
Report: Police have video of Ray Rice knocking his fiancée unconscious.

Amir Blumenfeld ‏@jakeandamir 35m
My boys @joshuaheller and Mike Moss made this rap video comparing (and contrasting!) Asians and Jews -- …

Alex Walsh ‏@ajwalsh08 6m
Owner of largest home for sale in America owed zero property taxes in 2012, 2013

Glenn Thrush ‏@GlennThrush 17m
It should also be noted: Ted Nugent is a proud draft dodger who crapped his pants and took meth to avoid going to Nam …

Robert Loerzel ‏@robertloerzel 20m
RT @CrainsChicago: Gap between rich and poor is widest in Chicago, New York, and a few other prosperous cities

Talking Points Memo ‏@TPM 22m
Investigators close to bringing charges against 3 freshmen in Ole Miss "noose" case

Julie Robenhymer ‏@JulieRobenhymer 31m
RT @ICole28 It's the same US Olympic jersey tee I wore on Wed. Does it smell? Yeah, it smells like freedom & victory

ColonelTribune ‏@ColonelTribune 3m
Porn charge against Mel Reynolds dropped, his lawyer says. via @chicagotribune

Jeff Greenfield ‏@greenfield64 8m
If Obama's job approval is key to the midterms, might make sense to hold off on analysis until we see where he is around mid-October. (nah)

Pregame Hype

An open (video) letter from USA to Canada...

Media Spotlight--February 21

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, show business, and the publishing 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

~Steve Stone returns to the Score
Interesting story behind the story from Robert Feder. Sounds like an all-out war is taking shape in the local sports-radio world.

~John Pugs on The Game
The former Kevin Matthews producer and co-host of Kelly & Pugs in Dallas is getting a weekend slot on "The Game". He announced it on his facebook page yesterday: "I just accepted an offer to host a Saturday night show (5pm-8pm) on the Game. First show will be this weekend. more details to come. How long have I been trying to break into sports talk? I am very excited!"

~Joel Daly on the WGN-TV Morning news
In case you missed it, here's my report from yesterday. Next week it's WGN radio.

The Moguls

~The Year of the Mega-Merger?
This story depresses me, probably because I fear it's true. I don't want to say that I am always against mega-mergers, but...actually, you know what? I am always against them. Name a mega-merger that has made things better for anyone but the executives who engineered it.

~As the Rupert Turns, Part 1
His ex-wife got the Park Avenue apartment, so Rupert had to buy his own bachelor pad. I hope this $57 million four-floor penthouse will suffice. At his age, I hope the apartment has it's own elevator so he doesn't have to take the stairs.

~As the Rupert Turns, Part 2
Bloomberg has the details from the hacking trial of Rupert's former right-hand-woman Rebekkah Brooks. Turns out, according to her testimony, she had no idea hacking was going on all around her. Coming up next? Character witness Claude Rains.


~Proposed FCC Study of News Organizations Sparks Outcry
See if you can guess why I find this paragraph so funny. From the Washington Post:
A proposed government study of how media organizations gather news has incited a powerful backlash, particularly among conservatives, who said that it could be part of an official effort to intimidate or second-guess journalists.
And here I thought conservatives believed that journalists were hopelessly biased, and made all their editorial decisions with only one thing in mind: advancing a liberal agenda. Wouldn't this study prove their point? Or has their point been ridiculous all along? I guess we'll never know.

Broadcast News

~RIP Garrick Utley
The great television news correspondent has passed away at the age of 74.


~Look who did a skit with Jimmy Fallon & Will Ferrell
Would you believe it was the First Lady?

Just One Bad Century--February 21

Today's Cubs Birthdays features big league careers that lasted one game, one pitch, and in the case of a celebrity Cubs fan, no games at all.

The A/V Club features that Cubs fan singing at Wrigley.

Also, have you checked out our $1908 contest yet? This could be the easiest money you'll ever make. All you have to do is name the starting pitcher and the exact date of the next World Series clinching Cubs victory. Piece of cake. Enter here.

Best Opening Paragraph Ever

Thanks "CM" for pointing this out. The first paragraph of an article in The Atlantic about fraternities. It is tough to top this one...

One warm spring night in 2011, a young man named Travis Hughes stood on the back deck of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house at Marshall University, in West Virginia, and was struck by what seemed to him—under the influence of powerful inebriants, not least among them the clear ether of youth itself—to be an excellent idea: he would shove a bottle rocket up his ass and blast it into the sweet night air. And perhaps it was an excellent idea. What was not an excellent idea, however, was to misjudge the relative tightness of a 20-year-old sphincter and the propulsive reliability of a 20-cent bottle rocket. What followed ignition was not the bright report of a successful blastoff, but the muffled thud of fire in the hole.

That's just good writing. The writer's name is Caitlin Flanagan.

David Thome

David Thome is an Australian satirist who specializes in e-mail communication comedy. That's right. Here's another example, and a funny one too. He has the whole office communication thing down.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Joel Daly's Appearance on the WGN-TV Morning News (Video, Commentary & Photos)

Joel Daly was on the WGN Morning News this morning, and had a wonderful time chatting with Larry Potash, Robin Baumgarten, and Dean Richards. They talked about the old days of Eyewitness News (Fahey Flynn), anchoring with Oprah, law school, and of course, Joel got a chance to yodel on the air.

You can watch it here.

Eckhartz Press co-publisher David Stern and I accompanied Joel and watched it from the wings. After the interview we took him out for breakfast, and someone stopped by our table and said..."Joel Daly! I just saw you on TV!"

Here are a few pictures from behind the scenes at WGN. The old Bozo studio, the plaque commemorating it's history, Joel heading off to makeup, and just before the segment began. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Jerry Seinfeld on the Tonight Show

Wisdom in his raveout about parenting...and funny. It starts around the 3:45 minute mark.

Media Spotlight--February 20

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, show business, and the publishing 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

~Joel Daly on the WGN Morning News
The legendary news anchor be there at 8:45 this morning promoting his book "The Daly News". (Full disclosure: This is a book that my company Eckhartz Press has published, and I will be there too--which is the reason for this abbreviated edition of media spotlight.)

~Ben Finfer Joins "The Game"
Finfer leaves his gig at the Socre to join the new sports operation being run at 87.7FM by WGN's braintrust of Jim deCastro and Todd Manley. The article in Chicagoland Radio & Media quotes Finfer from my 2010 Chicago Radio Spotlight interview. If you'd like to read that interview, click here. I was on Twitter last night, and this is what Dan McNeil tweeted: "Going to bed soon hoping either a) I have the winning Powerball tickets in my SUV or b) @BenFinfer wakes up tomorrow and changes his mind."

Broadcast News

~Brian Williams apologizes to Arsenio
Seems the NBC News anchor forgot to include Arsenio in pictures of Late Night hosts. The AP has the (non)story.


~FCC Seeks A New Path To Net Neutrality
If you use the internet, which you're reading this, you should care about this story. It's a very wishy-washy proposal aimed at quieting critics while giving the big boys absolutely everything they want. From the New York Times...
With the latest plan, the F.C.C. is hewing close to previous efforts — albeit with some technical differences — with rules that would prevent Internet service providers from blocking any legal sites or services from consumers and would aim to restrict, but not outlaw, discrimination.


"About A Boy" Has Good Pedigree
The show will be written by the creator of "Parenthood" and "Friday Night Lights", and is based on the novel by the great writer Nick Hornby.

The Radio Biz

~Putting a Price on Radio Play
This Newsweek article really only covers one side of the issue, but it's a good read, nevertheless. The counterargument is addressed, but dismissed. My personal opinion is that the artists are really undervaluing how much money radio brings them simply by making them popular. If you're not popular, no money. Now you can argue that radio isn't as important as it used to be, and that's a fair point. But it's a little unfair to change the rules of the game now when radio is struggling to survive.

Today's Best Tweets--February 20

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

Baseball America ‏@BaseballAmerica 8m
And the No. 1 prospect in the game . . .
Byron Buxton, of, Twins (@OfficialBuck103)

Al Yellon ‏@bleedcubbieblue 1m
Baseball America Names Seven #Cubs Prospects To Top 100 Prospects List

Behind The Ivy ‏@Behind_The_Ivy 7m
#Cubs in #BA100 Top 50
41. @JorgeSoler68
36. @albertalmora
28. @CEdwardsSBS
8. @KrisBryant_23
5. @javy23baez
Not. Too. Shabby.

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone 17m
Elton John, Kanye West, Jack White, Vampire Weekend and more will headline this year's #Bonnaroo: #BLAM

Nicholas Kristof ‏@NickKristof 32m
My column on a new revelation about our food supply: factory farms feeding pigs to pigs:

The Onion ‏@TheOnion 41m
Emergency Crews Attempt To Rescue Olympic Figure Skater Who Fell Through Ice

Slate ‏@Slate 43m
This pronoun will make you irresistible to women:

Valerie Geller ‏@vgeller 1m
Very cool move. @nytimesbooks: #JamesPatterson is "giving away $1 million of his personal fortune to #bookstores:

miketoomey ‏@miketoomey 1m
All people who make blanket statements are stupid.

Michael Ian Black ‏@michaelianblack 3m
Roy Orbison would have made a great singer for commercial jingles.

How To Avoid the Kiss-Cam

I got a kick out of this...

Today on JOBC--February 20

Today's Cubs birthdays include an all-star who fizzled the second he put on a Cubs uniform, and a speed demon fired for boneheaded baserunning.

The A/V Club has the first career homer of one of our birthday boys.

In today's Cubs news, the Cubs have 7 of the top 100, and five of the top 60 prospects in baseball according to Baseball America. Isn't it nice to get some good news occasionally? By the way, I'll be heading to spring training the first week of March to give you my full report, too. I won't be watching the major league players...I've seen quite enough of them.

Another Reason Not To Go To Pizza Hut

Presented without comment...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hoffman's Last Wish

From the New York Post, this little tidbit about Philip Seymour Hoffman's will...

“It is my strong desire…that my son, Cooper Hoffman, be raised and reside in or near the borough of Manhattan…or Chicago, Illinois, or San Francisco, California,” the actor says in his 13-page will filed in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court Wednesday morning. “The purpose of this request is so that my son will be exposed to the culture, arts and architecture that such cities offer."

Those sound like three good choices to me.

Dylan Gardner

This incredibly talented kid is the son of Legends guitarist Mark Gardner...and he got his start playing on stage with Landecker & the Legends! Now he's got a brand new album of his own, and it's really good too! Go get 'em kid!

Download and buy his songs here!

Today's Best Tweets--Feb 19

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

Ed Curran ‏@EdCurran 21m
Flood Watch issued February 19 at 10:40AM EST until February 20 at 7:00PM EST by NWS ‏@TIME 26m
Russia's hockey team crashes out of its home-turf Olympics

New York Daily News ‏@NYDailyNews 19m
"New Yorkers have the inferiority complex because the Chicago pizza is getting strong." Says a NY pizza shop owner.

Chicago Tribune ‏@chicagotribune 28m
Update: Ex-Rep. Reynolds denies pornography charges in Zimbabwe

MrJM ‏@MisterJayEm 3m
Chicago police are using a computer program to "predict" who in the city is "most likely" to commit a crime:

TomLoxas ‏@TomLoxas 4m
Rizzo being pressed into leadership role? …

Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 5m
1st day of live BP at #Cubs camp. Samardzija, Villanueva, Grimm, Ramirez, Wood, Rusin, Hendricks, Rivero sked to throw

The Daily Beast ‏@thedailybeast 17m
Tea Party to Boehner: Grow a pair

Talking Points Memo ‏@TPM 4m
New Georgia specialty license plate features a Confederate flag:

Scott Simon ‏@nprscottsimon 22m
Any idea why so many gyms play the same music as a Zagreb disco?

The Beatles Cartoon

Remember the cheesy Beatles cartoon that aired in the late 60s? Well, the artist who created that cartoon is currently doing art shows and selling his original drawings and paintings. His name is Ron Campbell, and you can read more about him here.

Below is an example of that fine cartoon entertainment...the voices aren't even close to the Beatle voices.

Media Spotlight--February 19

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, show business, and the publishing 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

~Sirott & Murciano
I spent the afternoon at WGN radio yesterday interviewing Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano. We discussed their radio philosophies, the challenges of being married and working together, the evolution of their show, and the changing radio landscape. It'll be a good read in the April issue of Illinois Entertainer. (March's issue comes out in about ten days--my column will be about WXRT's Mary Dixon)

~Chicago Morning Show Ratings
Robert Feder highlights the top ten rated morning shows in Chicago today at the link. WBBM's Pat & Felicia are #1.

The Moguls

~Big Asterisk on the Comcast/Time Warner Merger
When I first heard about this merger, I thought, 'there's no way the FCC is going to approve this'. Apparently, I'm not the only one who feels that way. It sounds to me like Time Warner isn't even convinced this will happen. From Deadline Hollywood today, this review of Time Warner Cable's annual report:
The deal only works if shareholders of both companies, as well as antitrust regulators and the FCC, approve it. But there’s a chance that might not happen ”on a timely basis or at all.” And if the deal does close “there can be no assurance that the anticipated benefits to the Company’s stockholders will be realized.” TWC notes that it faces “certain purported class action stockholder litigations relating to the proposed merger with Comcast.”

~As the Rupert Turns
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair keeps coming up in Rupert World. Yesterday, his name came up again during the phone hacking trial. According to this piece in the Guardian, he had an hour long conversation with Rebekkah Brooks, giving her advice about how to manage the scandal.

Broadcast News

~Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe Dropped by CBS
I was shocked by this news. They will be replaced on the NFL pre-game show by the recently retired Tony Gonzalez.

~Headline News is Really Re-branding
When they said they were going after a younger (and totally different) audience, they weren't kidding. In the pipeline, according to this piece in the Hollywood Reporter, a show featuring the buzziest social media videos, game shows about trending topics, reality shows and more. It sounds like an entire network about your facebook or twitter news feeds.

~The Only Woman in the Room
This ia an excellent interview with NPR legal reporter Nina Totenberg. Scroll down from the big picture of the Supreme Court justices with sunglasses. I didn't see the article beneath it at first either.

Mel Reynolds

The great thing about having a library of musical hits about current events is that stories always have a way of coming around again. Back in 1995, when he got in trouble the first time, Mel Reynolds was the subject of two Landecker & the Legends songs. They are presented for you today at the Eckhartz Press blog free of charge...

You can listen to them here.

Robert Feder Reviews "The Daly News"

Robert Feder, the city's premiere media writer, wrote about Joel Daly's memoir yesterday at Here's a short excerpt...

A highlight of the text are numerous transcripts of Daly’s commentaries, a staple of the newscasts he co-anchored with Fahey Flynn starting in the late ’60s. In contrast to the “happy talk” image his station projected, Daly’s smart, literate essays were evidence that his magna cum laude Yale education and world travels had not gone to waste.

“In a medium where so often the picture ignores perspective, and motion become meaning, it was a great satisfaction to harvest the riches of language, to write a little poetry, to quote a little Shakespeare,” he said in his final commentary in 1978. “Or e.e. cummings who said: ‘The reward in a job well done is having done it.’ I have done it, and I am richly rewarded.”

The Daly News is available right here at Eckhartz Press, and coming out soon via e-book at amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple.

Joel will be on WGN-TV tomorrow morning (Thursday Feb. 20) at around 8:40. The Eckhartz Press staff will be on hand to take pictures and chronicle the event.

RIP Bob Casale

Bob Casale was the rhythym guitarist for the band Devo. He was passed away at the age of 61.

Devo was one of my guilty pleasures. I particularly loved this song...a popular request back in my club DJ days (yes, that's right, I was a club DJ in the early 80s)...

Today on JOBC--February 19

Today's Cubs birthdays feature a "Rookie Star" from 1970 and a World Series champ (with another team, of course). The A/V Club has one of the all-time play-by-play highlights; the day that Bill Murray filled in for Harry Caray.

In current Cubs news, Javy Baez is working at multiple positions in spring training, Theo talks about Samardzija (and I still have to look up how to spell his name every time), Cub Killer Francisco Liriano will start on Opening Day for Pittsburgh, Jason Hammel doesn't want to be flipped, and our esteemed leader Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is the 48th most powerful person in Chicago.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Coming Soon to Eckhartz Press: "Lost in the Ivy" by Randy Richardson

In 2012 Randy Richardson wrote the critically acclaimed "Cheeseland" for Eckhartz Press. The readers at Goodreads named it their favorite "Coming of Age" novel when it was released. (Photo by Eric Benjamin Kleinberg, 2014)

This year in honor of the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, Randy has updated and improved his earlier mystery/thriller novel "Lost in the Ivy". It will be released by Eckhartz Press on Opening Day (March 31), and will be available for pre-order beginning March 20th. What is it about?

Reporter Charley Hubbs has the story that any reporter would kill for. The problem is that he may have done just that.

As the dead bodies pile up around him, Charley sets out to prove to himself that he’s not the homicidal maniac the press has made him out to be. Enlisting the aid of seductive, whip-smart bartender Elizabeth “Lizzy” Parker, he makes a daring courthouse escape. From that point on, it’s a race against time for the truth. Along the way, Charley discovers that he can run, but not hide, from his past.

Against the backdrop of Chicago's storied Wrigley Field, a baseball shrine cursed by a billy goat, Charley is caught in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. Only by unlocking the mysteries of his past and opening his heart again will he be able to find if hope truly does spring eternal.

The cover (below) was designed by the same artist who designed the cover for "Cheeseland", Eckhartz Press' Kelly Hyde...

Lost in the Ivy Cover

Today's Best Tweets--February 18

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

Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 1m
#Cubs @ARizzo44 on the winter: "I'm home in Florida laughing every day. ... I felt sorry for everyone [in Chicago]"

Frank Conniff ‏@FrankConniff 23h
Why do we honor Washington & Lincoln even though they both refused to answer questions about Benghazi?

Len Kasper ‏@LenKasper 12m
For True Detective fans I created a simple forum to discuss: . Pls heed welcome message. Let's have fun w/it.

Chicago Blackhawks ‏@NHLBlackhawks 14m
Just posted: @88PKane talks about Team USA's play so far, his Sochi experience and more.

Gawker ‏@Gawker 20m
The military is considering using electric shock therapy to keep service members awake. Really. ‏@radiodotcom 52m
Bruce Springsteen just remastered 10 of his best albums and put them on iTunes

WGNMorningNews ‏@WGNMorningNews 32m
There is a national clown shortage, and @LarryPotash is VERY WORRIED:

People magazine ‏@peoplemag 33m
Woman arrested for not returning a VHS of Monster-in-Law 9 years ago. Yes, a VHS. Those things you use as doorstops.

Nikki Knepper ‏@queenofcussin 34m
It's not my house that smells, it's the people in my house. Farters. Read, share and like. Thank you.

The Onion ‏@TheOnion 14m
An error in last week's horoscope has resulted in you having an encounter with a tall dark strangler | Horoscopes:

Media Spotlight--February 18

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, show business, and the publishing 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

~Sirott & Murciano
I'm heading in to the WGN studios today to interview Bob & Marianne for my next Illinois Entertainer column.

~Chicago Radio Ratings for January
From Tom Taylor's NOW column today...
Alternative rock thrives on a bigger signal. Moving the format over from the Channel 6 TV audio at 87.7 makes a huge difference at former variety hits 101.1, which reassumes the WKQX calls. The frequency doubles its share in one month, 1.6-1.4-2.8. That’s 101.1's best topline since PPM invaded the Windy City. While 87.7, known to Nielsen for record-keeping purposes as “XKQX-FM,” slips 1.7-1.7-0.6, during the month it was simulcasting with 101.1. How about all-Christmas? A year ago, AC WLIT dropped from a Holiday-book 10.0 share to a 3.2. This time, the drop is 11.6-4.1. At the top is CBS Radio’s all-news WBBM (780 plus its FM shadow at 105.9), going 5.9-5.8-6.2 – no doubt helped by inclement weather. That’s the first time 'BBM has held the laurels by itself since April 2012. In cume, WBBM now ranks #5. The #2 station by share is Clear Channel’s urban AC “V103” WVAZ, 6.7-6.4-6.0, and then the numbers drop into the 4’s. There’s Hubbard’s hot AC “Mix” WTMX, 4.3-4.0-4.9 (no doubt happy that WLIT has put away the Holly Jolly Christmas). Fourth is CC’s urban WGCI, 4.3-4.3-4.5. In the talk arena, there's Tribune’s talk WGN (3.9-3.6-4.0), Cumulus’ talk WLS (2.0-1.7-2.1) and Chicago Public Media’s non-com news/talk WBEZ, 1.6-1.5-1.8. Chicago’s cume leader is Clear Channel CHR “Kiss 103.5” WKSC at 2.1 million. Kiss ranks #5 in share. WLIT’s cume swan-dived from a holiday-book 3,272,400 to 1.7 million.

The Moguls

~Bill Maher Roundtable About Comcast Merger
I finally watched Friday's episode last night and it contained an excellent roundtable discussion about the media merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. One of the panelists was Eric Klinenberg, who wrote this must read book about media consolidation, "Fighting for Air". I reviewed that book for the Beachwood Reporter shortly before my own novel on the subject "$everance" came out. We have a very similar view of the landscape. He's a professor though, so he manages to state his case much more elegantly than I ever could. I've been unable to find a link to the video of this particular segment, but HBO reruns Bill Maher all the time. Don't miss it if you have any interest in this subject.

~As the Rupert Turns
Rupert's former right-hand-woman in Britain, Rebekkah Brooks, finally gets her chance to start her defense today. This should be fascinating. Reuters previews the next three months of the trial (you read that correctly--its not expected to end until May).

~Donald Trump Fires Advisor Because Trump Gave a Terrible Interview
Even the New York Post is taking shots at the Donald for this one. He did an interview with Buzzfeed and he came out looking like an idiot. So, naturally, he fired the guy who advised him to do the interview.

Broadcast News

~CNN Is Getting Backlash for Interviewing George Zimmerman
I generally agree with Howard Kurtz's take on this subject in his column. And now I'm analyzing one media organization analyzing another media organization. Anyone care to analyze my analysis? (Just as an aside, if you want to get depressed, just read the comments section. Howie stepped on a racist landmine by pointing out an unarmed black man was killed. Not allowed to do that at Fox News. Know your audience, Kurtz.)


~Jimmy Fallon's first Tonight Show
Next time try to get some guest stars, sheesh. The link above features a calvalcade of cameos, a veritable cameopalooza. The best one is the last one.

~U2 performs "Invisible" on the roof of Rockefeller Center
Have to hand it to Jimmy...pretty memorable first show. (Although this video below makes me nervous. I've got issues with heights.)

~True Detective's Inspiration
My favorite new show has been making references to literary work I've never encountered before. The article at the link explains why "The King in Yellow" by Robert W. Chambers (written in 1895!) is crucial to the really creepy plot of True Detective.

~Ralph from Green Acres has passed away
Ralph was the female handyman who never left the Douglas household after repairs began. Bummer. Her real name was Mary Grace Canfield

Fashion Sins From the 70s

This one's bad, but it's not the worst one. Buzzfeed has 25 of 'em. (I will not be dipping into my own photographic archives. I'm afraid I might have sported one or two of these looks)

Snow Record

The National Weather Service released the following information late last night...



1) 89.7 IN. 1978-1979
2) 82.3 IN. 1977-1978
3) 77.0 IN. 1969-1970
4) 68.4 IN. 1966-1967
5) 67.9 IN. 2013-2014 INCLUDING FEB 17TH
6) 66.4 IN. 1951-1952
7) 64.1 IN. 1917-1918
8) 60.3 IN. 2007-2008

We can do this, Chicago. We still have another month of winter.

Global Warming Expert

The Guardian has an interview with one of the world's foremost climate science experts. He's 88, and seems to be a personally cheerful guy, yet his forecast for our future is about as depressing as anything I've ever read on the subject.

Oh, and he says it's already too late to stop it. In 20 years max, you know what will hit the fan.

Have a nice day.

LATE UPDATE: I just read another article/interview with the same guy and it sounds TOTALLY different. In this one he says he may have been too alarmist in the past.

I really don't blame anyone for their confusion on this matter. If you want justification for your opinion, you can find it.

Mark Twain Village Tours

This is so strange to me. The Americans have cleared out of Heidelberg Germany after many years, and there are now tours of American homes and barracks being offered to curious Germans who were not allowed to enter before. I lived in one of these apartments from 1977 until 1980. (And by the way, we had Germans in our home all the time. Relatives stayed with us nearly every weekend.) In this video you'll get a tour of an apartment similar to the one I lived in (although it's updated and much nicer now), and get a glimpse of Mark Twain Chapel, which is where I was confirmed in 1978.

I haven't been back to Heidelberg since 1996.

Today on JOBC--February 18

Today's Cubs birthdays include an impressively bushy mustache, a no-hitter you've never heard of, Zip, Cal, Tap and more.

A new This Week in 1908 has also been posted, and features something that has become all too familiar this winter in Chicago. A snowstorm of epic proportions.

The A/V club features a classic 7th inning stretch performance.

Around the net, Baez preaches patience, Kent Sterling suggests that the Cubs are trying to outlast the rooftop owners by slowly crushing them with a bad product (funny concept), Fujikawa talks about Tanaka, and ESPN profiles the Cubs minor league pitcher of the year.

Monday, February 17, 2014


This President's Day Weekend we relaunched our website Just One Bad Century. After six years of serving Cubs nation with our old design, we figured it was time to spruce up the joint a bit. It remains the #1 spot to find stories about the interesting and complicated history of the Chicago Cubs.

What will you find on Just One Bad Century?


*Today's Cubs birthdays. Brief bios and stories about every Cub (and Cub-related personality) celebrating a birthday on that particluar day. By the end of this year, JOBC will have every single player who ever wore the Cubs (or White Stockings, Colts, or Orphans) uniform in the archives.

*The A/V Club. A video or audio clip about the Cubs. Check the homepage for new videos or audio clips every single day.


*This Week in Wrigley History. Once the season begins you'll see stories about the best games played that week in Wrigley history. There's a hundred years of stories to choose from, and we think we've chosen the best.

*Historical Events: Where were the Cubs? Have you ever wondered what the Cubs were up to during Custer's Last Stand? President Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy's assassinations? When man walked on the moon? Our research staff has gone through the archives and will deliver those stories to you weekly. If it happened in history between the end of March and the beginning of November any year since 1871, we've got a corresponding Cubs story to share.

*This Week in 1908. Our award-winning chronicle returns with photos, videos (silent ones), and profiles of what was happening the last year the Cubs won the World Series.

*This Week in 1945. This popular segment also finds a spot in our new home, with updated stories, photos, and newsreel videos from the last year the Cubs were in the World Series.


*We have a chance for you to win $1908 in cold hard cash. All you have to do is pick the exact date and starting pitcher of the Cubs on the day they clinch their next World Series championship. Piece of cake, right? (I'm picking my son on November 1, 2030, but I don't want to sway your vote)


*We're particularly proud of our new "Building Character Since 1909" t-shirt, but the old favorites are still available in the JOBC Store.

And there's much much more at, including all the latest news about the Cubs, and some of my own personal Wrigley Field memories. Be sure to stop by and join in the fun.

JOBC Relaunch

Media Spotlight--February 17

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, show business, and the publishing 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

~WGN's New FM Sports Talk Begins Today at 1PM
It's going to be called "The Game". And it's on 87.7 FM. Robert Feder has the details, including an interview with Jimmy deCastro.

The Moguls

~"Bloodbath" of Time Warner Execs Expected if Comcast Sale Goes Through
There's no question that this headline in the New York Post (page 6 column) is true, even if it's a little New York Postishly dramatic.

Broadcast News

~Bob Costas is Back Tonight
His eye infection has apparently healed enough to allow him to return as host of the Olympic coverage. Matt Lauer didn't comment. He's in a coma.

~Did NBC Reporter Go Too Far in Bode Miller interview?
Kristin Cooper asked Miller three times in the interview about his brother who had passed away. Did she go too far? I really don't think she did. TV Newser has a transcript.

The Pundits

~Meet the Press' Climate Debate
It was Bill Nye the Science Guy vs. Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn. Oy. The National Journal reviews the segment, and I think does so quite fairly.

~Piers Morgan Questioned By Scotland Yard
This is all about the phone hacking investigation, in which Morgan is tangentially related (as a former Daily Mirror editor). The Telegraph has the details including the reaction from CNN.

~Joel McHale to Host White House Correspondent's Dinner
This is a plum gig--the president himself will be in attendance. I have to admit, I don't watch "The Soup" on the E! Network, so I didn't immediately know who McHale was. When I saw his picture I realized I have seen him many times.


~Snake Salvation Star Dies From Snakebite
This reminds me of the Steve Irwin story. It's hard to conjure up a lot of sympathy for a snake handler who dies from a snakebite. Especially when you read the details about how he refused treatment. I do feel sympathy for his family.

~"The Lego Movie" Tops The Box Office
I've heard various different reviews from parents who have gone wih their kids. Everything from "Surprisingly Good" to "I fell asleep". My youngest son wants to go see it today. I'll let you know if we manage to make it out of the house.

~The Simpsons are also going Lego
Here's the gist of the story, via Reuters...
The Fox network's animated family "The Simpsons" is getting a plastic makeover on May 4, as the creators team up with toy company Lego for an entire episode created out of the plastic building blocks

Radio Biz

~The Gay Parent Bashing RSVP is a Scam--Radio Guys Made it Up
I've seen this story all over social media and my first thought when I read it was--this doesn't sound real. It wasn't. Reuters has the details about the New York radio hosts who perpetuated the ruse. Thanks for giving the entire industry a bad name, fellas.

The Balding Handbook Releases A Song: "Cueball Wizard" (Watch the Video)

David Stern is a baldoldogist and author of "The Balding Handbook" on Eckhartz Press. The book takes you through the 5 stages of grieving for your hair loss; denial & isolation, anger & rage, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It's often given as a gag gift to a bald loved one by a mean person, but the gagger doesn't realize he or she is doing the gaggee a huge favor. If enough people give this gift, the balds will surely take over the world.

It's one of our best selling books.

The book now also has a song. It tells the tale of Dave's journey. This is the first song created by Eckhartz Press productions. Vince Argento handles the vocals, and Tommy Kaempfer is the video wizard who directed and edited the video.

Behold..."Cueball Wizard"

What kind of drink are you?

Another day, another time wasting quiz. What kind of a drink are you? I'm apparently a fine glass of wine...

You are a Fine Glass of Wine. You are sophisticated and refined, but also complicated and hard to deal with. Not everyone loves you, but those who do swear that you're the coolest thing since sliced bread. One of these days the people that matter will understand you. Until then, you will be sitting on your throne as the distinguished product that not everyone has the taste to appreciate.