Friday, December 12, 2014

Come Out to the Billy Goat Tonight!

Very excited about our book signing tonight. If you swing by the original Billy Goat between 5-7pm, you can meet Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Landecker, Broadcasting Icon and 38-year ABC Channel 7 anchor Joel Daly, and the nicest man in Chicago television history--Rich King from WGN-TV. Oh, and me too. All of us will have our books there to sell and sign, and all of them make perfect holiday gifts for at least one person on your list. (I'm hearing that The Balding Handbook's David Stern will be there too, and Wrigley usher/author Bruce Bohrer too. It's an author smorgasbord!)'s at the Billy Goat at dinner time. I recommend the double cheesborger with (no fries) chips and a (no coke) Pepsi. It's also happy hour, and last time I checked, they do serve happy beverages too. See you there!

Father Knows Nothing on WGN-Radio with Bill & Wendy

I had a great time with Bill & Wendy yesterday at WGN Radio. They posted the first half of the interview on their website.

It starts out with the audio debut of the "12 Days of Teen Christmas"; my latest promotional audio for the book.

Thanks for having me on, guys!

Now that's a time capsule

The AP reports...

Crews removed a time capsule dating back to 1795 on Thursday from the granite cornerstone of the Massachusetts Statehouse, where historians believe it was originally placed by Revolutionary War luminaries Samuel Adams and Paul Revere among others.

Now THAT's a time capsule. Where's Geraldo? He should open it on live television.

A Disturbance in the Force

If you've felt a little colder, a little darker, and find yourself shuddering for no apparent reason--fear not. There is an actual reason.

Dick Cheney will be on Meet the Press on Sunday. (Cue the Darth Vader music)

Cheney almost never leaves the safety of Fox News, so he must smell weakness in Chuck Todd.

Cheney will be armed with a slew of "fundamentally disagrees" (his favorite phrase), and will be well-prepped to cherry pick one or two things that are wrong with the torture report as a way of claiming all of it should be disregarded. He will come ready to misquote others who supposedly agree with him, blur timelines, and question the manhood of anyone who doesn't think we should rectally feed other humans, and will present it all in his sort of avuncular way. Will Chuck Todd be prepared enough to see it coming and counter it? I'm not optimistic. One guy is praying he won't be charged with war crimes before his mechanical heart gives out. The other one reports on poll numbers.

If only Mike Wallace was still around.

But then again, Cheney would never agree to be interviewed by someone who is willing to confront him...AND rebut him.

The Sony E-mails

If you haven't heard yet, somebody hacked Sony Pictures, and released a slew of e-mails to, from, and about movie stars working with/for them. They think it might have been done by North Korea as payback for the new Seth Rogan comedy about killing the North Korean leader.

Fascinating stuff.

I feel a little dirty for reading it, but it pretty much confirmed what I already believed anyway.

Top Sports Talkers in America

Radio Ink released a list of the Top 30 Sports Talkers in America, and three Chicago shows made the list.

#5: Boers & Bernstein WSCR
#7: Mully & Hanley WSCR
#16: Waddle & Silvy ESPN 1000

I listen to two of the three shows occasionally and think they do a fine job. The other show isn't my cup of tea. I keep tuning back in, hoping they have gotten less beligerent to their own listeners, and I keep getting disappointed. Obviously some people really like it--they're the top of this list.

Happy Birthday Frank

He was born 99 years ago today. This is my favorite Frank song...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Father Knows Nothing on the Radio

Tune in to WGN Radio (AM 720) today just after 4pm. I'll be on with Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder discussing my book "Father Knows Nothing"

Paul McCartney on WGN-TV

Last week WGN Morning News had me on their show during the 9am hour. This week they upgraded that same time slot just a bit...

Jon Lester Thanks Almost Everyone on the Planet After Signing with the Cubs

He kept us all glued to Twitter on Tuesday night, awaiting word about which team he chose. But in fairness to Jon Lester, he spent all day yesterday personally responding to all of his fans via Twitter. He must have personally responded to hundreds of people. A few examples of that are here.

Colbert & Letterman

Stephen Colbert's last show on Comedy Central is airing next Thursday night. He will be replacing David Letterman sometime next year. We don't know exactly when that will be yet, but Letterman did announce yesterday when his last show will be on CBS: Wednesday May 20, 2015.

It will be the end of an era.

An era that, let's face it, really ended about five or ten years ago.

Stan Lawrence's Example

Stan and I worked together in the late 80s/early 90s when I was with Steve & Garry's show. First, I just booked him as a guest. Later we hosted the Best of Steve & Garry together on the air, and were given our own show "Ebony & Ivory". (That's a photo of us together during an appearance for Ebony & Ivory). We hung out together a lot in those days. When I saw what he posted on Facebook last night, I immediately knew he was speaking the truth. I saw this happen to him several times with my own eyes.

This is what Stan posted on his Facebook page last night...

In the performance of my job, I often receive demeaning remarks from building security guards that cannot fathom I am authorized to access the places I tell them I need to go. Today was one for the record books. I am one of 3-people at the security station waiting for a building pass to access the elevators. Coincidently, all 3-of us were going to the same place; we are dressed similarly, and were carrying backpacks (we are all project managers going to the same project meeting). After handing my identification to a Latino security guard, while he was preparing my building pass, a female security guard walked over to the counter and in a low mumble asks me “are you trying to make a food delivery?” Not being sure I heard what she said, I said “excuse me, will you repeat your question.” As my two colleagues walked away, the female guard said in louder, clearer voice “are you here to make a food delivery?” Maybe the puzzled look on my face caused her to follow-up with “you’re wearing a backpack, so I thought you were delivering food.” For a second I thought about asking her why she did not ask my colleagues if they were delivering food. Then I saw the look the Latino guard gave her as he handed me my building pass, so I simply said “no, I am not delivering food, I am a project manager here for a meeting.”

I do not believe I am too good to deliver food. Nor do I believe delivering food is a demeaning job. I just wonder what it is about me that made me look like a delivery person to this security guard, when my two colleagues did not. Could it have been the difference in the color of our skin? Or maybe she sees lots of food being delivered in monogrammed leather Tumi backpacks.

I have two stories that come to mind in this same vein. One night after the show Stan & I were going to share a cab. He got out to the street first and tried to hail one. Nobody stopped. He was dressed well (as he always is), and I was dressed like a slob (like I always am). After five or six empty cabs went by, I said "What's the deal here? Nobody's stopping." He responded: "It's because I'm black". "Sure," I said. "Give me a break. Watch they won't stop for me either." He got out of view of the taxis, and I walked out, and stuck my hand up. The first cab stopped.

The other story happened when we went to a club called the Baja Beach Club (I was something like that). They wouldn't let Stan in because his shirt didn't have a collar. So, we walked around the corner, and Jim Wiser (who was also with us) traded shirts with Stan. They let Stan in this time...but they also let in Wiser, wearing the exact same shirt that Stan was rejected for wearing.

None of these stories are exactly tragic--I only post them here because I am so sick of hearing that everyone is treated the same way in this country. Yes, Stan is successful. He's a project manager. That doesn't prove we all have the same opportunities. He had to work harder every step of the way to achieve that...and I mean every single step. Even in the most trivial situation. Even now, when he's already successful. That's what is meant by white priviledge. To deny it's existence is to stick your head in the sand.

Disco Demolition

Steve Dahl is writing a book (with Dave Hoekstra) about Disco Demolition. From Tom Taylor's NOW...

Steve Dahl “hopes to clear the air about Disco Demolition, the most infamous radio promotion of all time,” with a “definitive book” about it. That’s the report from Chicago scribe Robert Feder, who says Dahl’s working with author Dave Hoekstra and photographer Paul Natkin on “Disco Demolition: The Death of Disco.” They’re aiming an April 2016 release, from publisher Curbside Splendor. And just what was the 1979 “Disco Demolition,” you ask? It occurred when then-WLUP (97.9) jock Steve Dahl was promoting a disco-sucks gag at baseball’s Comiskey Park between games of a double-header. Feder says “He exploded a box of disco records and thousands of drunken fans stormed the field in the ensuing riot.” And “riot” is a not an exaggeration. Feder recalls that “the damage was so severe that the White Sox had to forfeit their second game against the Detroit Tigers.” Nobody was happy, and 24-year-old Dahl took a lot of heat. A reminder that Dahl’s back on terrestrial radio, hosting afternoons on Cumulus talker WLS (890).

Steve was only 24 years old when that happened. Incredible.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Father Knows Nothing

Thanks so much for your support of "Father Knows Nothing". We ordered another shipment on Monday because we sold out of the first batch in ten days! People are buying 3, 5, & 10 copies at once. I can't thank you enough for all the orders! I'm so happy you like it.

Tomorrow I'll be on WGN Radio talking about the book with Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder (around 4pm) and Friday I'll be at the Billy Goat selling and signing books along with John Landecker, Joel Daly and Rich King from 5-7pm. Stop by and say hello! I'll buy you a Schlitz.

We got Lester!

I was watching my Twitter feed all bleepin' day yesterday waiting for the news, and there was nothing. I went to bed at 11pm, and it was down to the Cubs and the Red Sox.

The announcement was made around 1am.

We got him! We got Lester! We got the best available free agent pitcher on the market. The Cubs. Seriously. Read the Boston Globe story about it. They sound genuinely mad at the Red Sox brass for not getting him. That's a good sign.

Now the numbers are slightly ridiculous (6 years, $155 million--which comes out to over $25 million a year), but the market is slightly ridiculous these days. You gotta do, what you gotta do. It sounds like they are also about to sign David Ross, Lester's personal catcher in Boston.

Getting very excited.


*It sounds like the Cubs realization of how important his charity work is to him, is one of the reasons Lester chose the Cubs. That's good karma.

*Even the always cranky Steve Rosenbloom, who never says anything nice about the Cubs, has a rosy take on the signing of Lester.

*The Giants actually offered more years and more money...and he still picked the Cubs.

*Boston folks are having fun doing a Lester smear campaign on Twitter. Check it out here. Pretty funny.

My Kind of Town

Great song. Great city. Steve Van Zandt and Jimmy Fallon pay tribute...

RIP Judy Baar Topinka

Sorry to hear about the death of Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. She was one of my favorite Illinois politicians. The Tribune obit at the link above shows that I wasn't the only one who felt that way.

Landecker and I had her on our show at least a half-dozen times (probably more). She brought her accordian and played it on the air at 6:30 in the morning. She was a heavy smoker and had a voice deeper than mine, but she was a real person--warm and friendly and approachable. She and John really hit it off.

I voted for her when she ran for Governor against Blagojevich (yes, I have voted for a few Republicans in my life), and I must say that vote looks pretty good in retrospect.

RIP Judy. You'll be missed.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Some More Pub For Father Knows Nothing

Many thanks to Tom Taylor's NOW column for publishing this today...

Special delivery - Rick Kaempfer says "When I was the executive producer of the John Records Landecker show on WJMK Chicago, I made phone calls from the delivery room to the show just before or after all three of my boys were born. The transcripts of those calls to Landecker are in my book 'Father Knows Nothing,' which is just being published. When my wife was in labor the third time, I left the hospital room to call the show while the anesthesiologist was giving her an epidural. Landecker and I joked on the air that the anesthesiologist was nicknamed 'Shakes' and that he was probably a heroin addict. Unfortunately, I forgot that the radio was on in the delivery room. The anesthesiologist laughed when he heard it on the radio, and said to my wife, 'I'm glad they're not talking about me.' She waited until after he finished with the delivery before she told him that actually, they were talking about him. Luckily, he had a good sense of humor." Rick's doing an appearance and book signing of "Father Knows Nothing" this Friday night from 5-7pm at the original Billy Goat in Chicago - and Landecker's expected to be there. So will WGN-TV's Rich King, and legendary Chicago TV anchor Joel Daly. Rick says "We're calling it Eckhartz Press Media Night, because we all share the same publisher, and we're all media guys." Rick's a co-founder of Eckhartz, and that's him in the picture with his wife Bridget. More about Father Knows Nothing here.

Here's the flyer for the event...

Was Starlin Castro Involved in a Shooting?

According to his piece via Fox News Latino, it sure makes it sound like he was.

I've read other reports that are not nearly as accusatory as this one, but it is clear he was in the nightclub at the time of the shooting. It's important to note that no-one was killed, but it certainly merits keeping an eye on the situation.

The Post Dispatch Turns Off Reader Comments

This has been a long time coming. I hope every paper in America follows suit. The St. Louis Post Dispatch has turned off the comments section below their opinion pieces because it has become a cesspool of hate. The link will take you to their explanation.

I have been pretty consistent about my position on the subject.

When I was a kid growing up in Chicago in the 60s and early 70s, I heard racist things every day. Then...I stopped hearing those things. I only heard them in hushed tones from people who knew that it wasn't acceptable to say these things out loud anymore. Society had cracked down on their open casual use, and an entire generation was raised not using them.

And then the internet became popular. It has been one of the greatest inventions, if not the greatest invention of my lifetime.

But...I also started receiving some unbelievably racist e-mails that had been forwarded a thousand times. And then I started seeing some of these things repeated in the comments section of newspapers, always on-line--unedited, and unrestrained in major publications like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune. The professional journalist's work was seperated by the racist troll's spit, by one simple scroll of the mouse. By allowing those comments, which as long as they didn't swear were not edited at all, those newspapers were essentially sanctioning what they said. "Look, it's in the Wall Street Journal."

Soon people began to feel comfortable saying these things in the open again.

And now I hear casually racist things being said every day just like I did when I was a kid; at the supermarket, at the bar, at the barber shop. Worse yet, I hear them on the radio, on television, and in the media...where it had been off-limits for many years. People casually saying things like "those people" or "those thugs" or "those animals" about an entire race of people while believing that they aren't being racist at all. People saying things about "lazy deadbeats" who are "looking for handouts" about an entire race of people, and thinking that they aren't being racist. People who will look you in the eye and say without irony that the only racists in this country are the people calling racists racists.

Ending the comments sections won't end that, of course.

But it's a nice first step.

Obama Does "The Word" For Colbert

Monday, December 08, 2014

The Father Knows Nothing Book Launch Party

Many thanks to everyone who came out yesterday to the "Father Knows Nothing" book launch party. It was a great time.

So blessed to have so many good friends who came out to support the launch.

Lots of photos have been posted at the Eckhartz Press blog.

John Lennon

Those of us who were around will never forget this day. From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac...

December 8, 1980…Two months after his 40th birthday, John Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman, outside his home at the Dakota apartment building on the northwestern corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West in New York City. After approaching the former Beatle and calling his name, Chapman dropped into a combat stance and shot John in his chest, back and left arm. Lennon staggered into the porters' vestibule and was comforted by porter Jay Hastings, who covered him with his jacket and removed his glasses. Police were quickly summoned and took John to Roosevelt Hospital on West 59th Street. Doctors did everything they could to save him, but John Lennon was pronounced dead at 11:07 p.m. A sobbing Yoko Ono cried "Oh no, no, no, no ... tell me it's not true," and was led away in shock.

The 24-year-old Chapman remained at the scene, took out his copy of "The Catcher in the Rye" and read it until the police arrived and arrested him without incident.

Many Americans learned of the tragedy while watching ABC-TV's "Monday Night Football." Howard Cosell announced the news of the murder: "This, we have to say it, is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy, confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous perhaps of all of the Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival."

After being denied parole multiple times, Lennon's killer remains in prison.

This is the way I found out too...

A New Jazz Station in Chicago

Robert Feder has all the details, including an interview with the new owner Chris Devine. You may remember Devine as the owner of the Blaze (in the early 90s). This project also includes (my old boss at the Loop) Dave Logan and Rick O'Dell.

It debuts on December 26th on 103.9FM.

Colbert Interviews Obama

This should be fascinating.

The interview is scheduled to air tonight.

I've already set the DVR.

The New Republic Blows Up

Strange, strange goings on at the New Republic these days.

A restructuring was announced, and staffers are quitting en masse. From Variety...

Approximately 28 staffers and contributors said in a group memo they had resigned, a maneuver that seemed designed to generate social-media interest and rally others to their cause. On Thursday, the publishing company, owned by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, removed top editor Franklin Foer and longtime senior staffer Leon Wieseltier and said Gabriel Snyder, a veteran of several prominent digital media outlets, would take over as editor. Print frequency is to be reduced severely and operations are to move to New York City from Washington. The New Republic celebrated its 100th anniversary last month.

Happy anniversary!