Friday, February 28, 2014

Bobby Bloom

He died 40 years ago today. From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac...

February 28, 1974…Singer (Montego Bay) Bobby Bloom died of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 28.

Remember kids, if you die an embarrassing or needless death, you will always be remembered for that instead of anything you accomplished when you were alive. That's just the way it is.

Today's Best Tweets--February 28

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

Danny Ecker ‏@DannyEcker 3m
Blackhawks announce that @PlainWhiteTs will perform pre-game and during the first intermission tomorrow @ Soldier Field.

Tony Lossano ‏@LOSSANO 33m
Time Lapse: Soldier Field Gets Blackhawks Ice | NBC Chicago … via @nbcchicago

Jeff Dickerson ‏@ESPNChiBears 6m
Four Downs: Should Bears trade 14th pick?

Gawker ‏@Gawker 4m
More evidence emerges that Texas wrongfully executed a man in 2004.

Third Metric ‏@thirdmetric 1h
David Lynch's secrets for tapping into your deepest creativity

Ex-NFL Star Accused Of Raping 9 Women In 5 States...

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone 34m
Who's worse, Seth MacFarlane or James Franco? We rank the Oscar hosts from worst to best:

Emma Roller ‏@emmaroller 1h
As today is my last day at Slate, and I am a Millennial, I really hope my boss didn't forget to make me a Last Day Trophy.

phil_rosenthal ‏@phil_rosenthal 1h
A good read- --> MT @KateAurthur I ranked every Best Picture winner from #Gigi to #AllAboutEve (worst to best). ‏@BillMoyersHQ 1m
Ukraine’s fugitive president showed up in a swanky Moscow hotel asking Russia for protection - #morningreads

Media Spotlight--February 28

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

~Tributosaurus Led Zeppelin show
I'm going to this WXRT show tonight with my 18-year-old son Tommy. It's an all ages show at the Copernicus Center. Looking forward to it. The band is led by WSCR's Matt Spiegel.


~The Oscars Will Be Streaming Live
This is the first time they are doing it. USA Today has the details at the link.

~Minecraft, The Movie
Warner Brothers has acquired the rights to make a movie based on the video game, Minecraft. I have no idea how it will turn out, but I predict everyone walking out of the movie theatre will have glazed looks on their faces and will take several hours to reacquaint themselves with the real world around them.

~Michelle Obama to Appear on Parks & Recreation
I had a feeling this was going to happen when I saw Amy Poehler at one of her events yesterday. It will be a cameo, and yes, she is appearing as herself. (Joe Biden appeared on the show last year)

The Moguls

~As The Rupert Turns
On today's episode, Rupert's right-hand woman Rebekkah Brooks admits under oath that she did pay off public officials "a handful of times". But, cue the violins, she only did this to help the public. Here's the quote:
“My view at the time was that there had to be an overwhelming public interest to justify payments in the very narrow circumstances of a public official being paid for information directly in line with their jobs. Public interest – I and everyone else always finds this a very difficult subject to address because it's very subjective depending on what newspaper or media organisation you're in. Each newspaper has its own interpretation.”

The Pundits

~MSNBC Signs Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer
He's a Democrat and has been intimating that he might challenge Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. Joe Scarborough, the morning host on MSNBC, is also thinking about running in the Republican primary. MSNBC really is turning into Fox News. One of outrageous things about Fox "pundit/potential candidates" was that they were using the platform of Fox to launch their campaigns, and that's clearly skirting the spirit of the equal time rules. It's a gigantic loophole. As long as they don't officially announce, they can have as much free airtime as they want to campaign. Actually it's worse than free. Fox and MSNBC are paying them to campaign on television. Ah, but nodody seems to care, so I'll just move along now.

~Martha Raddatz To Host "This Week" Every Other Week
That's a good call by ABC. They risk killing George Stephanopolous if they don't do this.

The Radio Biz

~Jim Lange Was A Radio Guy
The RAMP Newsletter this morning reminds us that although most of us knew him as a game show host, he started and ended his career in radio...
Lange was a 15-year-old kid from St. Paul, MN who was bitten by the bug after winning an audition at a local radio station. In the early '60s Lange worked at KGO-AM and KSFO-AM/San Francisco. His big TV break came in 1962 when he was hired as the announcer and sidekick on The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show. In 1965, The Dating Game debuted and Lange's fame exploded, and he hosted the show for nearly 15 years. He later went on to host Hollywood Connection, $100,000 Name That Tune and The New Newlywed Game. After more than two decades on KSFO, Lange segued to KFRC (in its "Magic 61" days) from 1987-1994 and KABL-AM from 1996 until 2005. Bob Hamilton worked with Lange at both KFRC and KABL and shared his thoughts, telling RAMP, "Jim was a talent and a superb human being. No PD could ask for a better talent. The line he used at the end of each show was, 'Always say please and thank you.' He will be missed."

Pizza Math

There's a sound mathametical reason to always order the large pizza. It's one of the smartest purchases you can make when you consider how much more you're getting. The increase in price is almost never as much as the increase in product. Plus, there's the whole leftover pizza there a leftover food that is easier to eat?

An engineer explains...

The Most Popular Comment on the Internet

Can you guess it? You're an idiot.

I'm not calling you that. That's the comment..."You're an Idiot"

I love this article in the New Republic. It perfectly describes the four step process...

Step One: Someone sends an opinion or comment out into the world without it being requested.

Step Two: Someone else decides that they simply must reply to the original statement via a response noting that the person who wrote it is a big stupid idiot.

Step Three: In actualizing Step Two, the second person makes a rudimentary grammar mistake—“Your an idiot!”—indicating that he or she is maybe not the best person to judge the merits of a given opinion or how intelligent the holder of that opinion is.

Step Four: The original opinion holder points out the error by replying with something along the lines of, “I love it when people try to say I’m stupid and make an error in the process. Who’s the idiot now?”


As I point out periodically, there's a reason why I don't allow comments on this blog.

Just One Bad Century--February 28

Today's Cubs birthdays include three incredibly obscure Cubs. If you've heard of any of these guys, you are a bigger geek than I am. (And that's saying something)

Today's also the anniversary of the day the Cubs traded away Dave Kingman, so the A/V Club features video of one of most incredible blasts.

In the latest Cubs news, yes, it's true that they lost their first Spring Training game yesterday, but Samardzija looked good in his first start. (I'm trying out a new "cup is half-full" approach. Is it working?) Fujikawa's rehab is going well so far, and it looks like he may be back by midseason (after Tommy John surgery last May). Oh, and the Cubs have named their workout facility after underwear.

Also, here's a treat for any literate Cubs fan. Our publishing company, Eckhartz Press, is releasing a murder-mystery set in the Wrigleyville area. It's called "Lost in the Ivy" and it's written by award winning author Randy Richardson.

To find out more about the book, click here.

Lost in the Ivy Cover

Ravers Dancing to the Benny Hill Theme Music

How To Write Good

Thanks "DM" for sending this along...

Green White

One of my ongoing writing projects is chronicling the history of Green White Soccer Club, a club co-founded by my father in 1956. Every month I write about one year in Green White history. This month, it's 1985.

You can read about it here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Lost in the Ivy" Available For Pre-Order Now!

The Chicago Cubs are playing in their first spring training game this afternoon in their new ballpark in Mesa Arizona. It seems like the perfect day to announce that Eckhartz Press is now accepting pre-orders for Randy Richardson's book "Lost in the Ivy".

The murder mystery takes place around the slightly older Cubs ballpark in Chicago. Against the backdrop of Chicago’s storied Wrigley Field, a baseball shrine cursed by a billy goat, reporter Charley Hubbs 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.

Here's what the people who have already read "Lost in the Ivy" thought of it...

“If you’re a fan of the (dare I say “hapless?”) Cubs and you love crime fiction, you’ll love this fast-paced thrill ride through Chicago’s Wrigleyville… Richardson’s characters are quirky but believable and his history of baseball is spot on.”
- Libby Fischer Hellmann, author of 10 Chicago-based thrillers

"This book is not just for Cub fans but for all who love a great story. It's a wonderful read. Enjoy! I know I did."
~Tom Dreesen, author (Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black amd White), comedian, and Cub fan

"Lost in the Ivy plays out in the shadow of Wrigley Field, a perfect setting for this mystery from Chicago native Randy Richardson. Using his intimate knowledge of the Chicago city streets, the author peppers his story with locations sure to amuse any Cubs fan…A most entertaining tale."
– J.D. Gordon, author of Dartboard, Caribbean Calling and Field of Screams

This is Randy's second book for Eckhartz Press. He also wrote the critically acclaimed "Cheeseland".

"Lost in the Ivy" officially comes out (and ships) on Cubs Opening Day (March 31), but we are accepting pre-orders now. You could be the first one to receive it in your mailbox. Just go to the "Lost In the Ivy" page and pre-order your copy today!

Joel Daly's Appearance on WGN Radio (Audio, Photos & Commentary)

Accompanied Joel Daly to his interview on WGN Radio yesterday afternoon. He and Bob & Marianne had a great chat about the old days of local broadcast news, and touched on a number of other subjects during their lengthy interview.

You can listen to it here.

My personal favorite moment was this:

Marianne: So, you were abroad.
Joel: No, I've always been a guy.

It was fun to sit next to them during the interview. There was obviously mutual admiration. Joel was greeted warmly by both Bob & Marianne, and program director (or whatever his title is...I believe he's essentially doing that job) Todd Manley and Garry Meier both popped their heads in to say hello and wish Joel well.

Here are a few photos...


Joel Daly on WGN Radio

Joel Daly in the WGN Radio green room

Today's Best Tweets--February 27

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

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 1m
Paula Deen compares her struggle to "that black football player" who came out

NBC Nightly News ‏@nbcnightlynews 8m
JUST IN: Attorney General Eric Holder taken to a Washington, D.C. hospital this morning after experiencing chest pains - @PeteWilliamsNBC

Jesse Rogers ‏@ESPNChiCubs 2m
Chris Bosio on closer Jose Veras: "We have some tricks up our sleeves." Have no idea what that meant. Maybe a new pitch? He wouldnt say

Entertainment Weekly ‏@EW 3m
Seth Rogen takes on Alzheimer's at Senate hearing -- VIDEO

MrJM ‏@MisterJayEm 12m
Seth Rogan called out Sen Mark Kirk for making the photo op but skipping the testimony:

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone 5m
Few artists have perfect years; Prince almost had a perfect decade. Here's his 15 best post-Eighties cuts:

Alex Pappas ‏@AlexPappas 14m
Joe Scarborough visited South Carolina last week, going to N.H. next month... …

The Associated Press ‏@AP 14m
BREAKING: With judge's order, same-sex marriage now legally recognized in Kentucky.

Chicago Blackhawks ‏@NHLBlackhawks 17m
Duncan Keith is on the ice, making that all Olympians accounted for. #CHIvsNYR

Dane Placko FOX 32 ‏@dsplacko 1m
Video: Park Ridge bridge drops concrete on Mom's windshield. @UnionPacific says it will investigate.

Media Spotlight--February 27

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

Harold Ramis Remembered At Private Service
It's starting to sink in that he's really gone. I saw Garry Meier when I was over at WGN yesterday, and this was one of the first things he brought up to me. We didn't even know Harold that well, but we're all stunned and feel a real sense of loss.

~Joanne Genette Leaves The River
She was co-hosting a show with Scott MacKay and resigned yesterday. Here's what she said on her facebook page: "It's a simple case of me not feeling comfortable with the style of the new management. That's all. I love Scott Mackay. My decision to leave has nothing at all to do with him. I loved our show. I was hoping the River would be the place in radio where I could finally rest my head, but the new management said something to me that made me feel very uncomfortable. No reason to stick around. I'm sure it will get twisted and they'll say I'M the problem. That's what happens. So be it. Life goes on."

The Moguls

~As the Rupert Turns
In today's episode we discover that three former Rupert employees have now been charged with bribery. Never a dull moment. Do you think he's gotten to the point yet where he doesn't even the answer the phone if the call is coming from England? No news from there is ever good news for Mr. Murdoch.

Broadcast News

~Rosie O'Donnell Considered as Replacement for Piers Morgan
This is really an interesting choice, if it's true. I'm not a fan, but many people are.

~Snot Off The Presses
I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often. This is a reporter named Heather Holmes on a television station in the Bay Area, KTVU...

~I Lost My Dad To Fox News: How A Generation Was Captured by Thrashing Hysteria
This is a good piece in Salon today, written by a former Republican/Libertarian. My own dad died before the birth of Fox News. I suspect the same thing would have happened to him. He was a reasonable Republican.


~"Son of God" Opens Friday
Backed by churches buying out entire multi-plexes, the film is expected to do big numbers at the box office. Good marketing by Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey.

Just One Bad Century--February 27

Today's Cubs Birthdays include a corkless Sammy, Marilyn Monroe's son, a guy who was a World Champ before he joined the Cubs, and another who became one after he left.

The A/V Club commemorates the anniversary of Harry Caray being laid to rest. The hilarious eulogy by his good friend Pete Vonachen is on the JOBC home page.

In today's Cubs news, this photo below really says it all, doesn't it? Cactus League games begin today! The beginning of a brand new era. Right?


(tapping microphone) Is this thing on?

I'll be down there next week to check it out myself.

Cubs Park in Mesa

18 Classic Rock Album Covers Without Dead Band Members

This is kind of creepy, but interesting. Although I would like to point out that they missed one in the album cover below. Ray Manzarek is gone too...

Think Arizona Lawmakers Watched This One?

From 1961...

Some of this information isn't incorrect (especially about stranger danger), but pedophilia and homosexuality are obviously not the same thing.

RIP Jim Lange

The host of The Dating Game passed away yesterday. He was 81 years old. The Hollywood Reporter has the story...

One of the best episodes ever is below. This is not a bit (to the rest of the people on the show)...

Would you believe that Groucho was on the show once too! Watch it here.

Farrah Fawcett was too.

And John Ritter. And Maureen McCormick.

And would you believe, Michael Jackson?


Did you know that you've been opening bananas incorrectly? This video shows you how monkeys do it. Much easier than the way I've done it my whole life.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Happy Birthday Johnny Cash

Gone, but never forgotten...

Today's Best Tweets--February 26

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

Bill West ‏@BillWest5 17m
Welcome to another polar vortex like day in #Chicago. This winter has been a major pain in the nether regions!

Jen Kramer ‏@kramerica 45m
You know you're a true Chicagoan when you hear yourself say things like "It might feel like -13° but at least it's sunny." #polarplungechi

Dave Martin ‏@martindave 42m
Gone but not forgotten: Bill Hicks passed away 20 years ago today

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone 13m
Johnny Cash would have been 82 years old today. Here are 10 things you didn't know about the Man in Black:

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 5m
Forest Whitaker speaks out on his Oscars snub

David Aldridge ‏@daldridgetnt 1h
Sixers, Danny Granger finishing buyout today, per sources. Teams in hunt: Clips, Bulls, Heat, Rockets, Spurs.

Taegan Goddard ‏@politicalwire 12m
Many Would Lose Insurance Under GOP Alternative

Josh Marshall ‏@joshtpm 9m
Fox News Hosts Wonder If Anti-Gay Bill Is 'Overreaction' By Religious Right (VIDEO) …

Bernie Tafoya ‏@ChicagoFile 19m
Ex-pope Benedict denies being pushed out. … #Catholic @Pontifex

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 14m
As I Lay Dying Singer Timothy Lambesis admits to trying to hire a hitman to kill his wife

This About Sums it Up

Thanks to "BD" for this one...

Joke for a Wednesday Morning

Contributed by "LB"...

I had an appointment to see a urologist who shared an office with several other doctors. The waiting room was the size of a small auditorium, and it was filled with patients.

I approached the desk and gave the receptionist -- a large, imposing woman who looked like a wrestler. In a very loud voice she repeated my name, then said, "Yes, I see your name here. You want to see the doctor about IMPOTENCE, right?"

I was stunned, but recovered my composure sufficiently to reply in an equally loud voice, "No, I've come to inquire about a sex change operation---and I'd like the same doctor who did yours!"

Best Lip Synch Battle

Paul Rudd was hilarious...good choices of songs, too.

Media Spotlight--February 26

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

~Chicago Magazine's Unpublished Harold Ramis interview
They posted it on Monday. It's an interesting read. The interview was conducted in 2008. Ramis was a complex deep thinker, and a hell of a funny man. I love it when those characteristics co-exist. Really bummed about his passing.

~WBEZ Offers Listeners "Pledge Free" Stream
One of the most irritating things about listening to NPR (in Chicago--WBEZ) is hearing the constant begging for money. According to Radio Ink this morning, there will soon be a way to avoid that...
Chicago's WBEZ will eliminate requests for money for online listeners who give $15 per month or more as part of the WBEZ High Fidelity Program. Other listeners can also sign up for pledge-free listening by making a one-time $40 donation. Membership Director Jillian Shepherd said, "We're experimenting by adding this to the range of special offers and exclusive events that members already get access to. We want to say "thank you" to our loyal members who have stuck with us year in and out with an opportunity to listen to the station they know and love outside of our pledge drives."

~Joel Daly on WGN Radio
He will be promoting his book "The Daly News". Once again, full disclosure: my company published this book. I'll also be on hand to take pictures and chronicle the event. The interview begins at 1:05.

~WGN Pulls Robin Baumgarten and Paul Konrad from Thanksgiving Parade coverage
How do I know this? They've been mentioning it on Facebook and Twitter. Robin posted this picture below, with the following explanation:
Sadly, I will not get another opportunity to wear this great ensemble again, as Paul and I have officially been asked to "resign" our duties as hosts of the annual Thanksgiving parade. On the upside, I don't have to watch Paul looking up the skirts of oversized balloons.

The Moguls

~As the Rupert Turns
You'll find the latest about the phone hacking trial of Rebekkah Brooks at the link. Last week she was saying she didn't know it was happening. This week she is saying that she didn't know it was illegal. To me, that's a much better approach. I can believe that in the wild wild world of British tabloid journalism, someone who rose from a receptionist wouldn't have known it was illegal--because everyone else was doing it. It's not going to stop her from being convicted, but it could shorten the sentence.

Broadcast News

~PBS Space Reporter Miles O'Brien Loses An Arm in a Freak Accident
He blogs about it at the link with great humor, but holy moly, this is a very scary story.


~Oscars Advertising
Adweek takes a look at some of the twitter-brand-marketing plans for the broadcast. They didn't have too much success with this last year, but they're going to try it again.

~Seth Meyers Ratings Success
Of course you can't judge these things for awhile, but Seth Meyers did beat Jimmy Fallon's Late Night debut, and by quite a lot.

The Radio Biz

~Joe Piscopo Gets Conservative Talk Radio Show
Finally, finally, finally we can hear Joe Piscopo's thoughts about politics. I thought this day would never come. From Inside Radio...
Best known for his impressions of Frank Sinatra and other celebs as a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” in the early ‘80s, Joe Piscopo is the latest veteran of the seminal comedy show to transition to conservative talk radio. Following in the footsteps of WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller, Piscopo has joined Salem talk “970 The Answer” WNYM, New York in morning drive.

The First Openly Gay Professional Athlete

There actually was one in the 70s and 80s. It was just a different time. The occasionally insufferable Keith Olbermann gets this exactly right...

Just One Bad Century--February 26

Today's Cubs Birthdays include one of the five best pitchers to ever play the game, plus a cup of coffee from the 1920s, the son of a Sox player, DeRo, and the wrong Jose Reyes.

The A/V Club shows our birthday boy winning the World Series...for another team.

In today's Cubs News...the Sun-Times profiles Cubs prospect (pitcher) Kyle Hendricks, a nearly forgotten pitching prospect Aroldys Vizcaino is finally getting on the mound today after two years of injuries (and just as an aside on that story--I heard Wellington Castillo interviewed the other day and he said this was the most exciting arm in camp), Cubs catchers talk about the new rule about no collisions at home plate, Pedro Strop could get some save opportunities, and finally, should Travis Wood be the opening day starter this year?

The Night Chicago Died (in Spanish)

Fair can't unwatch this.

Which Beatle Are You?

I took the quiz. Not too surprised by the result. I am...

Late ’60s John Lennon
You’re a very complex person – sometimes you’re preaching love and tolerance, and other times you’re a bit snarky and mean. You seek out romantic partners who inspire and challenge you, which leads you to take huge creative risks.

Paging the Folks Over at the Darwin Awards

I think the headline here says it all: Michigan Man Shoots Himself Dead While Showing Girlfriend That Guns Are Safe

I'm not a gun guy. Don't like 'em. Don't own 'em. But I don't have anything against people that do. To each his own.

I just figure, why allow something into my house that can easily kill me or any one of my family members? I don't need protection. I've got a pit bull.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Happy Birthday George

George Harrison was born on this day in 1943. I know not a lot of people have bought or listened to the album that was released after his death, but I personally think it's brilliant. This video explains the process of putting it together after he was gone. He ran out of time to complete it himself...


My brother-in-law Randall Cross (married to Bridget's sister Nancy) is the co-owner of a company called Ethervision. They specialize in app design, but they also have 380,000 followers on Twitter.

Yesterday they got a shoutout in this article by CNBC.

Randall may just become a "new media" contributor on this blog in the near future (and the media website I'm hoping to launch later this year). He really knows his stuff. I'm sure it's not on his resume, but he also created all the original video for JOBC.

Who is Andy's Mom in Toy Story?

I love the entire Toy Story trilogy. It's just about perfect. And I love this explanation from a Pixar sleuth about the real identity of Andy's mom.

Even if he's not right, I'm going to forever believe he is, and I'm going to love Toy Story even more.

Next Week's Forecast

I didn't need to read this on the Tribune website...
It's too early to tell exactly where that snow will land or how much there will be, but Skilling did use these words to describe it: "Potentially significant."
If my flight to Arizona gets snowed in, I will not be a happy camper.

Today's Best Tweets--February 25

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

Mike North ‏@North2North 2m
Odds not looking favorable for "Big Game" McCown’s return #RebelInside Daily Herald

WGNMorningNews ‏@WGNMorningNews 2m
Harold Ramis’ last time on @WGNMorningNews. He talks Animal House, Chicago, & getting his start :(

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 3m
"We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog." Obama mourns Harold Ramis

The Daily Beast ‏@thedailybeast 15m
We could watch Harold Ramis's "Groundhog Day" over and over and over... And so should you.

Al Franken ‏@alfranken 7m
#ComcastTWC is a deal that could result in higher prices, worse service, & less choice: ,

tina susman ‏@tinasusman 43m
Who cost Mrs. Blackwood her cancer meds?,0,4157578.story … Another in a series of debunking Obamacare horror stories, from @hiltzikm

Greg Sargent ‏@ThePlumLineGS 26m
Must read @stevebenen on @AFPhq's strategy of using alleged Ocare victims as shields against scrutiny of ads: …

Slate ‏@Slate 36s View translation
Tonya Harding, still bitter:

Brett Taylor ‏@BleacherNation 19m
#Cubs: Cubs Prospects Getting Defensive Love: Javier Baez and Christian Villanueva …

Gawker ‏@Gawker 24s
Kids are giving each other lice by leaning in too close when they take selfies

Media Spotlight--February 25

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

~More Hires at "The Game"
The new sports talk station in town at 87.7FM has been hiring lots of new people, including a few women: ChicagoNow's Julie DiCaro, ChicagoSide's Megan Kluth, and ESPN radio's Brooke Weisbrod. I've never heard any of them on the air, but I am a fan of DiCaro's writing about the Cubs. She knows her stuff. Larz from Chicagoland Radio & Media has more details about the others at the link.

Broadcast News

~Olympic Ratings Down From Vancouver Four Years Ago
The headline in Variety (above) is true, but misleading. Those Vancouver Olympics weren't tape delayed hours after we already knew who won, and the world wasn't nearly as consumed with up-to-the minute information four years ago. Twitter was not nearly the force it is today.

~Tamron Hall to Co-Host 9 AM Hour of Today Show
She's been at MSNBC for the past few years, but before that she hosted a morning television show here in Chicago at Fox. She's actually grown on me since her Chicago days. I've seen her conduct a few heavy hitter interviews that I don't think she would have been able to pull off when she was in Chicago.

The Pundits

~Josh Barro Going to the New York Times
He is a writer about economics, and has previously worked at Bloomberg and Business Insider. He's also a frequent guest on MSNBC.

~Slate's Dave Weigel Dances on Piers Morgan's Television Grave
I can't say that I disagree with him, but it feels a bit unseemly. The body is still warm.


~Reuters Reviews Seth Meyers First Night
Sounds like I missed a good one. The Vice President and Amy Poehler were the guests. Most surprising thing in the article, as far as I'm concerned: Seth is the oldest host in the history of the program. He's 40. I think they mean the oldest host to start as host, because I'm pretty sure Conan was over 40 when he left. He's my age. (50)

~If the Beatles Debuted Today
Jimmy Fallon has fun with a social-media-ized Beatles

The Radio Biz

~Scott Shannon didn't retire after all
Not a big shocker. Here's the info via Inside Radio: The mystery of where longtime New York morning man Scott Shannon is heading appears to be solved. CBS Radio briefly posted a press release on its website for classic hits WCBS-FM (101.1) late Monday revealing Shannon will join the station starting March 3.

~The Bieber Item From Yesterday Was a Prank
Not by me. It was two radio dudes in Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal Consitution fell for it, so I did too. Whoops.

The Radio Producer's India?

You just never know where you'll inspire someone. This article comes from The Hindu, a publication in India. (Not joking)

The Radio Producer’s Handbook by Rick Kaempfer looked Sachin Tantry in the eye almost a decade ago. He tuned into the world of sound and worked with Radio Mirchi. College beckoned and he returned to the classroom, this time, as professor of communication at Jain University.

The thirty-year-old now divides time between Manipal University Bangalore campus, Avagmah B School and Centre for Management & Entrepreneurship, NMKRV College, Center for Management Studies, Sri Sri Center for Media Studies School of Commerce and Management Studies, various corporates and his alma mater Jain University, disseminating gyaan on Media Ethics and Radiogiri.

Just One Bad Century--February 25

Today's Cubs birthdays could be the most impressive one day collection of the year: two of the greatest players to ever put on a Cubs uniform (Pafko & Santo), plus a Marx Brother, another Hall of Famer, Slim Jim, a broadcaster, a GM, and the other Henry Rodriguez.

The AV Club features the inspiring medical story of today's birthday boy Ron Santo.

A brand new This Week in 1908 has also been posted this morning. How long ago was 1908? You'll meet Johnny Kling, the Cubs catcher. His teammates call him "The Jew". Not kidding. There's much more at the link, including a movie from that year, and we check in with little babies named Tex Avery, Earl Scheib, and Theodore Geisel.

In current Cubs news, the Cactus League rotation has been set, here's a Q & A with Albert Almora (who is one of the most exciting prospects in the pipeline), it looks like Jose Veras will be the closer this year, there won't be any collisions at home plate this year (it's now illegal), and here's a closer look at Mike Olt.

Also, yesterday was a sad day not only for Cubs fans and Chicagoans, but for anyone who likes to laugh. The great Harold Ramis passed away. Read his obit here. The photo below shows him throwing out the first pitch at Wrigley Field.

Harold Ramis at Wrigley

Monday, February 24, 2014

RIP Harold Ramis

A true comic genius has passed away. Harold Ramis was 69 years old. I met him several times over the years, most recently about five years ago at Second City, and found him to be very charming and gracious.

As a comedy movie writer, he had no equal. He wrote or co-wrote "Animal House", "Stripes", "Caddyshack", "Ghostbusters" and "Groundhogs Day", among others.

This is a big, big loss.

Father Knows Nothing: The End of an Era

Yesterday was our last day of Cub Scouts. For the first time in twelve years we don't have a Cub Scout in our family. Our youngest son Sean has graduated to Boy Scouts.

When I first mentioned Cub Scouts as a possibility to my wife Bridget twelve years ago, she was vehemently opposed to the concept. She had two little boys (aged 6 and 4) and was expecting a third. The idea of adding another activity to her ridiculously crowded plate was simply out of the question.

"If you sign up Tommy," she said, "you're the one that has to go with him. I'm not going to do it."

I agreed. I had fond memories of my own time in Cub Scouts and figured Tommy would love it too. The first few years I handled the bulk of the Cub Scout duties (other than the Pinewood Derby--Bridget seemed to enjoy the woodworking). I went to the den and pack meetings, and I went on the outings. I saw it as good father-son bonding time, because I was still working in radio, and had so little time to spend with my boys.

By the time Johnny joined, however, we had three little boys, and now I was the one at home with them, and Bridget was the one who wanted a little extra bonding time. At first she only agreed to attend the meetings, but it wasn't long before she had volunteered to write the newsletter for the pack. She didn't realize how involved that was. She had to co-ordinate all the information, which meant she had to know every detail.

Once that happened, Bridget slowly started adding to her duties, and our home slowly became Cub Scout central. First our shed became the storage area for the pack. Every scout parent came to our house to pick up or drop off everything from the camping gear to the Klondike sleds to the Pinewood Derby track. Within a few years, our dining room also became the headquarters for all the pack paperwork. At one time or another Bridget handled every job, from running the popcorn sales, to organizing the events.

Before she knew it, Bridget had become the committee chairperson, and was running the whole show. She knew it would be a big job, but I don't think she realized just how big. It was like a second full-time job. But it was one she did well. This year our pack was recognized as the best in the district (out of more than fifty packs).

But it all came to an end yesterday.

After fifteen Pinewood Derby cars, 60+ newsletters, and two full years running every conceivable part of the pack, Bridget said her farewell yesterday at the Blue & Gold dinner. I don't think it really hit her until we got home and watched the video of Sean "crossing over" to the Boy Scouts. Her lip quivered a bit as she watched it, and her eyes filled with moisture.

"Do you think you'll miss it?" I asked Sean, as he watched the video with her.

"Nah," he said. "Boy Scouts will be more fun."

I didn't ask Bridget. I didn't need to. I knew she would say that she was planning on enjoying her free time. But I also knew she didn't regret dedicating her time to the Cub Scouts all these years. I saw the pride in her eyes when she told me the pack had been honored. I saw the joy in her eyes as Sean or Johnny or Tommy achieved a new rank.

And I saw the lip quiver, and the eyes moistening last night the moment it sank in that she was never going to experience it again.

Today's Best Tweets--February 24

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

Slate ‏@Slate 32m
ICYMI: If you own an Apple device, you need to update it yesterday:

Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 4m
And from last night: Why the comp free agents might hold out until June:

MLBcathedrals ‏@MLBcathedrals 16m
Cubs vs. Tigers at West Side Park during the 1907 World Series. The #Cubs would go on to win their first title.

@MLBcathedrals: Cubs vs the #Tigers at West Side Park during the 1908 World Series.

HuffPost Sports ‏@HuffPostSports 5m
Kobe Bryant understands why Jason Collins' NBA return is a HUGE deal

Kari A. Friedlander ‏@KariFriedlander 8m
"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life." -Steve Jobs, who would have turned 59 today

Michael Ian Black ‏@michaelianblack 8m
If @sethmeyers is smart, first thing he'll do tonight is flash some nip.

Ellen DeGeneres ‏@TheEllenShow 19h
Tomorrow, I have a big surprise for the University of Illinois. Be on the quad at 3PM CST. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

Slate ‏@Slate 18m
69 years ago, a relatively unknown photographer captured the most iconic photo of World War II

ABC News ‏@ABC 15m
96-year-old man bites into birthday cake, finds what appears to be a rat:

Media Spotlight--February 24

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

~Terri Hemmert Q & A
A good read in this weekend's Chicago Tribune about WXRT's Terri Hemmert's 40 years in Chicago radio. One of the subjects she tackled was "DJ Nightmares". I still have them even though I haven't been a radio DJ for years. This was Terri's version...
My good friend (and fellow WXRT personality) Lin Brehmer and I were talking about this recently. DJs have work nightmares. I remember one I had when we were still playing vinyl. I had a dream that every record in our library was a Fiestaware dinner plate, with a little hole in the middle. And I'd put them on the turntable and nothing was playing. DJ nightmares, something people don't think of.

Broadcast News

~CBS Sunday Morning Provided a Valuable Service

~CNN To Cancel Piers Morgan
He seems to be a bit insufferable, but I still hope he didn't learn about this by reading the New York Times.


~The AP Cautiously Commends New DOJ Regulations
The Associated Press has come out in favor of the new guidelines for what the Justice Department can and cannot pursue with journalists. The headline says "cautiously", and I think that's the right word. But it's a good sign.

The Radio Biz

~Cumulus Installs New Maternity Policy
I'm not one to shy away from criticizing radio companies for being cheap and/or shortsighted, so I feel I should also commend them when they do something right. From today's Inside Radio:
Under federal law every employee is allowed up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave for the birth of a child. That’s what most radio groups offer according to an informal survey. But Cumulus Media will today implement a new policy that sets the bar higher for radio groups. It will offer women up to six weeks of time off – fully paid – for the birth of a child.

~Bieber May Move Into Dickey's Neighborhood
From Tom Taylor's NOW column today. This little item made me chuckle: There goes the neighborhood – Lew Dickey’s neighbor could be Justin Bieber.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution says there’s already a protest brewing in the exclusive enclave. There are signs like “Just(in) say no” and “Keep Buckhead Bieber free.” There’s supposedly going to be a social media-organized protest outside 421 Blackland this morning – one that Lew Dickey should have a good view of. Wondering what Lew’s hacienda is worth? City-Data figures the land value at $1,329,200 and the building value at $6,670,800, for a total property value of $8 million. How large is it? The “building area” is listed at 13,868 square feet.


~Alec Baldwin In His Own Words
In this lengthy piece in the New Yorker, Alec Baldwin explains what happened with the homophobic rant (he says he didn't say it), the play called "Orphans", in which he tangled with Shia LeBouf (who was fired), and his days as an MSNBC talk show host. Read it at the link above if you're interested. He can't say he was taken out of context. He wrote the piece. I still think he comes off sounding like an ass, but that's just my opinion.

18 Things You Have to Explain to Out-of-Towners About Chicago

I usually hate and/or disagree with many of these lists.

This one is pretty good.

Randy Richardson Explains the Reasons for "Lost in the Ivy"

"Lost in the Ivy" will be released on Opening Day (March 31) by Eckhartz Press. Author Randy Richardson has already created a website for his new book.

On the "Lost in the Ivy" blog today, Randy explains his reasons for re-issuing this book, which originally came out in 2005. After you read this, you'll understand why Eckhartz Press is excited to be publishing it.

Now This Is a Happy Dog

It's Supposed to Say "Canada"

Will Ferrell tweeted this yesterday...

Just One Bad Century--February 24

Today's Cubs birthdays include a 200-game winner, a man named Pinky, and cups of coffee from the 20s and the 70s.

The A/V Club features a glimpse at the 1925 World Series.

The latest edition of "This Week in 1945" has also been posted. All year long we feature what was going on during the last year the Cubs appeared in the World Series. This week the Americans raised the flag at Iwo Jima.

And finally, our featured t-shirt this week has been flying off the shelves. That's the logo on the left there. Get your very own "Building Character" t-shirt here.